882.01 Foreign Control/932: Telegram
The Chargé in Liberia (Hibbard) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 19—2:28 a.m.]
60. For McBride. My telegram No. 58, December 13, 2 p.m.; and 59, December 14, 10 a.m. I received from Barclay yesterday afternoon a certified copy of the Act entitled “An Act approving the three year plan for internal development of the Republic, elaborated by the Executive Government, dated August 28th, 1934, and authorizing the President of Liberia to conclude negotiations with the Finance Corporation of America for the purpose of making modifications to certain provisions of the seven per cent gold loan agreement of 1926”.
The text is the same as that previously sent you. As far as I am able to learn the plan which he refers to as that of August 28th, 1934, which must be the memorandum he gave to you, has not been read to the Legislature as a whole although certain members of the Government close to Barclay have undoubtedly seen it. He has allowed to leak out to the opposition your message to him which I delivered November 21 (King quoted this to me almost verbatim) and many [Page 834] copies of the supplementary agreement to the loan contract are in circulation. As I have nothing with which to compare them I cannot say definitively but they appear to be authentic. It is obvious that he is doing this to rob the opposition of strength as their campaign cry is cooperation with the United States to the exclusion of all others and a settlement of the difficulties with Firestone. Although it is possible that Barclay is following his usual tactics in keeping his plan as vague as possible in order to give himself loopholes in the expectation I believe he may have misunderstood your suggestion to him regarding a specific form for the plan (it seems to me from his reply to you that he misunderstood paragraph 3 of your suggestions as obviously no financial aid was intended for missionaries at present). I propose therefore unless you have objections to call on Barclay again in an effort to straighten this out. With the authority granted him in the Act just passed he can easily issue a specific plan by Executive Order and with this plus a satisfactory agreement with Firestone he can silence the opposition more effectively. I believe if this is explained to him he may agree to a specific plan more readily. I hope that Firestone will not delay his arrival any longer than possible as I think the time for securing a satisfactory agreement is opportune before the internal opposition collapses as it may possibly do without funds and by application of the sedition law. Have you any other suggestions?