882.01 Winship Mission/46: Telegram

The Special Commissioner for Liberia (Winship) to the Secretary of State

35. I saw Barclay Friday afternoon, Briggs accompanying me, and the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury and Treasurer also being present. I explained in a friendly way the purpose of my mission, stating that the President was greatly concerned over the general situation and its international aspect, and that he had sent me in an endeavor to obtain a solution mutually satisfactory to Liberia and the American interests which would in turn make possible Geneva negotiations looking toward the establishment of the League plan of assistance, now blocked by Liberia’s illegal actions. I added that because of the disturbed conditions prevailing here I feel that early solution was essential.

Barclay replied that Liberia’s actions subsequent to December 17 last had been dictated by “necessity,” but that he was desirous of liquidating the resulting situation with the Finance Corporation. Nevertheless, he said that the only basis on which the Joint Resolution and other actions “affecting” the loan agreement could be withdrawn would be in the event that an arrangement “providing financial relief” were worked out in advance and then substituted therefor. (My own view of the causes of Liberia’s present financial difficulties coincides in general with that of the Finance Corporation: that these difficulties are primarily due to the administration’s corruption and its persistent refusal over the past 3 years to act upon the competent advice of the American Fiscal Agent officials.)

I informed Barclay merely that I would immediately inquire whether Lyle was in a position in these circumstances to submit proposals.

On my return to the Legation I summoned Lyle who states that he has specific instructions not to enter into any discussion whatever with the Liberian Government unless and until the illegal actions contravening the loan agreement have been withdrawn; he added that he had just received renewed orders to this effect.

This is virtually the position as it existed prior to my departure from the United States.…

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  1. Telegram in two sections.