882.01 Foreign Control/814d: Telegram

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

148. For Reber. I hope very much that if circumstances develop where the League has to announce that Liberia has rejected the Plan and that it must accordingly disinterest itself in this phase of Liberian rehabilitation, it will none the less leave an escape clause [Page 794] to the effect that should Liberia within a reasonable period of time petition the League to place the Plan in operation in its present form without changes, that the League will agree to do so. Without a saving clause of this sort it would be necessary to repeat too much negotiation and preliminary study in case events should induce Liberia to alter her attitude toward the League Plan. This seems to be especially desirable since our reports from Monrovia indicate that there is a growing movement in favor of accepting the Plan, although the time is so short until the forthcoming meeting of the Council that the movement in Liberia may not crystallize sufficiently for action prior to the meeting but might well result in acceptance later on.

An informal conversation between the Embassy at London and the Foreign Office has left us with the impression that the British plan to take no action before the May meeting, after which they may approach us with the view to ascertaining what responsibilities we are prepared to undertake with respect to Liberia. In our view the most effective way of seeking a solution to this problem is through international cooperation. If the League as a body disinterests itself, I feel that we should continue to seek, in association with the other governments most interested, to induce Liberia to take advantage of the above mentioned escape clause and apply for the League Plan without reservation.

Should Liberia accept the League Plan, we feel certain that the Kru situation11 would quickly be adjusted. Meantime, however, if the problem is pursued in Geneva, and your advice is sought as to further procedure, you may intimate that we would be willing to give consideration, depending on the gravity of reports of ill-treatment, to joining with the British and French in sending, at the request of the League, joint commissioners to investigate the situation with a view to seeing whether the charges made against the Liberian Government are authenticated and whether life and liberty are being adequately preserved.

  1. Chronic disorders among the Kru tribes of the South, which the Liberian Government had long failed to pacify.