882.01 Foreign Control/841
The Secretary of State to the British Chargé (Osborne)
Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of the Ambassador’s note No. 200 of June 12, 1934, setting forth the views of the British Government regarding the present deplorable situation in Liberia which has been aggravated by the refusal of that Government to accept without stultifying reservations the Plan of Assistance prepared by the League of Nations. The attitude of the Liberian Government in thus refusing to accept the aid proffered at its own request has been a source of great disappointment. I share to the fullest degree the concern of the British Government at the shocking conditions of repression and maladministration of the large native population, which the present Liberian Administration has shown no signs of being willing to correct, and agree that the persistence of the Liberian authorities in this course can only lead to consequences which must cause greater suffering to the native population as well as further deterioration of social conditions and ultimate bankruptcy.
As to ways and means of improving the situation, I have not been able to satisfy myself that any course suggested since the rejection of the League Plan would produce lasting reforms to the ultimate [Page 804] benefit of the entire Liberian population. In the circumstances, I am asking my Special Assistant, Mr. Harry A. McBride, to visit Liberia this summer and report to me fully not only as to the situation he finds there as a result of the rejection of the League Plan, but also as to the real desire of Liberians of all classes for disinterested assistance. Mr. McBride was Acting Financial Adviser and General Receiver of Customs in Liberia in 1919–1920 where he won to a marked degree the esteem of Liberian officials and succeeded in establishing many reforms and in balancing the budget. Upon his return, I shall take pleasure in informing you of any conclusions I have been able to reach and suggestions I may be able to offer.