882.01 Foreign Control/17: Telegram

The Chargé in Liberia ( Reber ) to the Secretary of State


12. My 11, January 21, 6 p.m. This morning Barclay sent for me, apparently to ascertain whether by appealing to the United States he could avoid the necessity of an application to the League for a control commission, since he inquired if yesterday’s conversation implied an American withdrawal from Liberia.

Replying I said I was unable to add to my yesterday’s statement, although it was my belief that the United States Government felt its offer of aid and advice was predicated upon complete acceptance of the International Commission’s recommendations and upon the execution immediately of effective and sincere reforms and not upon a partial complying with the suggestions of the Commission. The American Government had made representations on other occasions to the Liberian Government regarding much needed reforms; heed was not paid these, and it was my opinion that my Government would not be willing to assume further responsibility for these conditions continuing to exist. When now international public opinion and the Governments which were interested in Liberia’s welfare had determined that Liberia’s problems could be effectively solved only by outside assistance, I understood my Government to be agreeable to the suggestion that through the League of Nations such assistance would be brought [Page 663] about. Personally I was convinced that the request was to be regarded as in Liberia’s best interests.

Barclay then inquired as to the extent to which the United States would take part in the commission’s appointment. My reply was that I lacked information respecting this point but was of the opinion that the details would be settled at Geneva where there would be an opportunity for Liberia to present its views, and I added that it was my understanding that the United States was ready to cooperate in reform measures with the other Governments. Barclay stated that Sottile had informed him of a proposed commission of three members, and Barclay hoped that the details of this body’s scope and authority had not been arranged without Liberia being able to voice its views. I remarked that I was of course not in a position to discuss this, though it did not seem likely a conclusion was reached prior to receipt of Liberia’s request.

Barclay’s answer tomorrow to my British and German colleagues is expected to request the League’s aid, but the inclusion of a request for a control commission is hardly probable unless it is decided that Liberia will face more serious consequences without it.