882.01 Foreign Control/10

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Marriner)

The British Ambassador called to say that he had received a telegram from his Government stating that the British Government hoped that Liberia, being a Member of the League, would recommend to the Council that an International Commission should take over the power in the country in order to effect the recommendations suggested by the International Slavery Commission, and that furthermore, as the British Government was to be rapporteur in this question, it did not feel that it could properly make a suggestion of this character, as the rapporteur was supposed to maintain a certain impartiality of judgment.

I told the Ambassador that in view of the fact that Great Britain and the United States were the two principal Powers having diplomatic representatives in Liberia, it seemed to me that if Great Britain, being a member of the League of Nations, could not urge such a step, the United States, not being one, could certainly not do so, and assuredly could not be expected to do so alone.

I told the Ambassador that we had received a telegram this morning14 giving the substance of a conversation between Sottile, the Liberian representative at Geneva, and Wilson, our Minister at Berne, and that Sottile had, among other things, suggested American support for a loan from the League of Nations, and that this might give a peg on which to hang a hint to Liberia that the United States would not object to their seeking the advice and assistance of the Council of the League at the forthcoming meeting. I told him that we could instruct our Chargé d’Affaires that Sottile’s suggestion would seem to indicate that Liberia was about to do this and that the United States would have no objection, but I felt that without support or recommendation from the British representative, Liberia would feel that there was some difference of opinion between the two countries on [Page 656] this subject and would attempt to widen that difference and make use of it.

He agreed that this was so, and said that he would inform his Government that it would seem impracticable for the United States to make suggestions of this character in any case and impossible for them to do so without the British Government, but that the Chargé d’Affaires would be informed that in case Liberia contemplated asking advice and assistance of the League, the American Government would have no objection.

J. T[heodore] M[arriner]
  1. Telegram No. 5, dated January 9, 1931, 5 p.m., not printed.