Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Dunn)

During a conversation just before lunch at the Hungarian Legation today, Mr. Kulikowski, Second Secretary of the Polish Embassy, brought up the subject of Liberia. He said that during his tour of duty in Geneva he had become interested in the Liberian problem and had maintained this interest both because of past Polish support of Liberia before the League of Nations, and because of the presence of Polish Advisers and colonists in Liberia at this time. He asked me whether it was true that Liberia was very apprehensive of her security at this time, particularly in view of the recent Italian action in Ethiopia and current reports of the possibility of some colonial settlement being made with Germany. In this last connection he said that he felt sure that Great Britain and Germany had discussed the possibility of Liberia being placed under a German mandate, but he wondered what effect the recent recognition of President Barclay by the British35 would have on this possibility.

I told Mr. Kulikowski that probably it was true that Liberia was nervous about her future just as sometimes in the past she had been fearful of her British and French neighbors—she was a small, weak country with great potential wealth and a somewhat hectic history. [Page 822] I added that the progress Liberia had made during the past two years was most creditable in every way and in my opinion was of such a positive character as to entitle her to being allowed to continue working out her own destiny unmolested by outside interference.

Mr. Kulikowski volunteered the statement that Poland’s only interests in Liberia were sentimental, due to the former connection between the two countries at Geneva, and commercial, because of the Polish Maritime and Colonial League’s colony in Liberia.

He asked me what the United States would do if some threat were made against Liberia’s independence. I told him that that was a question which could only be answered by my superiors if and when such a situation arose, but that I personally felt that any direct threat against Liberia would arouse a storm of protest on the part of a large group of the American people who had always maintained a keen interest in Liberian affairs.

  1. December 16, 1936; see ibid.