882.01 Foreign Control/865a: Telegram

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

15. Since the withdrawal by the League of its offer of assistance to Liberia, the United States Government has been under pressure from various religious and philanthropic organizations here as well as from the other interested governments to take the initiative in attempting to find a satisfactory solution for the present difficulties in Liberia, particularly those affecting sanitation, education and the administration of the native tribes. For reasons with which you are familiar this Government is reluctant to assume exclusive responsibility in Liberia. At the same time it is difficult because of the great interest taken in the problem by the negro population of the United States [Page 803] and the special relationship which this Government has always held to Liberia for the United States to disinterest itself completely in Liberian welfare. However, before determining on the course of action we are prepared to take in all the circumstances, it seems wise to make a thorough survey of the entire situation on the spot. As it is desirable that this survey should not only give a clear picture of the present conditions with regard to native welfare and administration but a comparison of these conditions with those existing in the past, I am sending for this purpose Harry A. McBride, my assistant, who served in Liberia in 1919 and 1920, when he enjoyed to an unusual degree the confidence of the Liberian officials.

McBride will arrive at Monrovia for [from?] Freetown approximately Aug. 27th and will remain in Liberia for about one week depending upon steamship sailings. Please endeavor discreetly to ascertain whether Barclay will be in Monrovia at this time and if so tell him informally of McBride’s impending arrival without stating the purpose of his visit. If Barclay will not for any reason be there, please telegraph at once. You will be kept promptly informed of further plans.