882.5048/393: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

9. Consulate has just received from Secretariat of League document,15 dated January 10, 1931, embodying the following communication [Page 657] to Secretary General, dated January 9, from Sottile, Chargé d’Affaires, permanent delegate of the Liberian Republic to the League of Nations.

“In continuation of my letter of December 15 last which you circulated with the report of the International Commission of Inquiry, I have the honor to inform you that my Government, being desirous of giving evidence of its sincerity by definite acts at the earliest possible moment, has instructed me to make the following declaration to you:

‘The Government of the Liberian Republic accepts in principle the recommendations made by the International Commission of Inquiry in its report on slavery and forced labor in Liberia and adopts these recommendations as a basis for regulating any improvements which may be made in the social policy of the Republic, to the full extent of its resources’.

You will observe that my Government, again acting in the frank and loyal spirit in which it set up the International Commission of Inquiry, is firmly resolved, so far as its resources will permit, to adopt the recommendations of the Commission, although they are merely recommendations and suggestions submitted for guidance which no government could, legally or politically, be compelled to accept, more particularly since the Convention for the Abolition of the Forced or Compulsory Labor, concluded in 1930,16 has not yet come into force.

I said ‘so far as its resources will permit’, because the Commission, in making its recommendations, seems to have ignored the world economic crisis which is particularly severe in Liberia, and the very precarious financial position of the country.

I feel sure that, in view of this declaration, no member of the League and no non-member state can now question my Government’s good faith and sincerity.

I would ask you to bring the foregoing as rapidly as possible to the knowledge of the members of the Council and of the League of Nations and publish it”.

  1. League of Nations document C.50.M.27.1931.VI.
  2. Adopted by International Labor Office conference at Geneva, June 28, 1930; in effect between ratifying states upon registration with the League of Nations; text of draft convention printed in British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxxxiv, p. 449.