882.6351 U. S. Steel Corp./44: Telegram

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

2. The attitude of the United States Steel Corporation representatives has been most puzzling. They have been conducting an inspection tour rather than a survey. No borings have been made and no equipment brought to do so. Two trips have been taken to Bomi hills chiefly to ascertain what Neep64 had done. Altogether, less than 2 weeks were spent there. One or two other perfunctory investigations have been conducted where they were told iron deposits exist. [Page 624] Croze,65 head of the party, has repeatedly lamented about there being no geological survey of Liberia in sight of which he knew before leaving the United States. He complains about not knowing where to search for new deposits. When I advised him to see President Barclay on “leads” he invariably changed the subject. Party has been here since October. President Barclay has neither been in contact with nor received an inquiry from Croze since I took representatives to executive mansion.

High Government officials think Croze’s viewpoint has been warped by his relations with Caffe66 who has sought to discourage him and destroy confidence in the Liberian Government. Caffe is quoted as predicting that American negotiations would eventuate in failure. He sails for Gold Coast January 14 but is leaving open his office. He still entertains hopes for a Neep concession.

When Croze informed me Caffe had said the Liberian Government gave him a “dirty deal” I immediately conferred with the President who subsequently sent a special message to the Legislature asking that any favorable action previously taken in regard to Neep be repealed. This was done to assure the United States Steel Corporation that the Liberian Government is dealing fairly.

Croze called at Legation on the morning of January 11th. He volunteered the information that the two younger men had left for Cape Mount to be gone about 9 days. I understand they have become restive and desire to show corporation they have been active. When I asked Croze if rumor was true that party was leaving soon he replied that such talk was without foundation but that Lalonde67 because of illness, would probably sail January 16. Both Croze and Lalonde are nearly 70 and about to be retired. It is said that neither was particular about making trip. Croze has not been in the interior and says he is too old to undergo hardships.

Croze has told me the quality of iron ore examined is good but the question is if there is enough of it. He disputes estimates of Neep that there are from 50 to 65 million tons in Bomi hills. He has expressed the opinion that from 100 to 200 million tons must be available and cost of mining is not too large if the United States Steel Corporation is to become interested.

Croze desires to secure Neep’s information, which Neep, having expended $200,000, will not furnish. My suspicion is that he does not favor loosening the purse strings for making real survey unless the Liberian Government previously make commitments to grant United States Steel Company a concession. I suspect all that he is doing is an empty gesture and “marking time”.

[Page 625]

If the report of the United States Steel Corporation is unfavorable it will be not because representatives have been hindered but because they have been indifferent to meeting objectives originally sought.

Latest developments are also very disturbing to President Barclay who does not wish to be put in a delicate position. He has frankly said to me: “If there is a let-down in the result, those with whom I have consistently cooperated will have to share the responsibility.”

  1. Nord Europeesche Erstand Pyriet Maatschappy, the Netherlands company which had been interested in a concession in Liberia.
  2. W. W. J. Croze, geologist.
  3. D. Caffe, Neep representative in Liberia.
  4. B. E. Lalonde, engineer.