882.01 Foreign Control/874
The Secretary of State to the Belgian Chargé ( Walravens )
Sir: I have received your note No. 3025 of July 30, 1934, regarding an invitation extended by Baron de Bogaerde, Liberian representative in Paris, to Mr. Moëller, former Vice Governor General of the Belgian Congo, to proceed to Liberia at the expense of the Liberian Government to report on the possibilities of a plan of extensive reorganization of the affairs of the Republic. You also state that your Government would be especially interested to know whether the American Government has formulated any plan of action in regard to the Liberian situation.
I am very grateful to you for the information contained in your note. The refusal of the Liberian Government to accept without stultifying reservations the plan of assistance prepared at its request by the League of Nations is a matter of grave concern and disappointment to my Government. However, I have not been able to satisfy myself that any course suggested since the rejection of the League plan for the amelioration of the shocking conditions which have been shown to exist in Liberia would produce lasting reforms to the ultimate benefit of the entire Liberian population. In the circumstances, I have asked 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, who is now en route, 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. The American Government does not contemplate any further action in regard to this matter until after Mr. McBride’s return in October and the presentation of his report.