882.20/429: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Liberia (Walton)

57. Your 83, November 4, 4 p.m. Although we fully appreciate the motives underlying Secretary Dennis’ mission and although we are sympathetic toward any arrangement which would in fact give Liberia a greater degree of security, we are extremely doubtful whether the British and French Governments, in view of the existing situation in Europe, would consider the proposals which the Liberian Government has in mind.

Furthermore, we have been impressed by the opinions expressed by President Barclay as reported in the fourth paragraph of your letter to Mr. Murray of September 17 and, if for no other reason, question whether it would even be desirable to request the two Governments to reaffirm Liberia’s existing frontiers, thus implying the existence of a cloud upon the validity of prior boundary agreements still in effect.

It should also be considered whether the negotiation of treaties of mutual assistance between Liberia, France and Great Britain might not lead to the inference in certain circles, including those potentially inimical to the maintenance of the fullest measure of Liberian independence, that such treaties were premised on a change, actual or contemplated, in the benevolent attitude which the United States has always maintained toward Liberia.

If your advice is sought you might, therefore, emphasize the obvious disadvantages in raising any questions respecting Liberian frontiers, the general situation having radically changed since Murray’s letter to you of May 14.