882.6351 U. S. Steel Corp./88

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Henry S. Villard of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

I telephoned to Mr. Walker and inquired whether he had heard anything from the United States Steel Corporation in regard to the results of its survey in Liberia. Mr. Walker replied that he had received a message asking him to get in touch with Mr. Sias, but that he had not yet succeeded in doing so.

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I then told Mr. Walker that Mr. Sias had handed us the Corporation’s report on December 8, with the request that, in view of the wartime uncertainty of the mails, we transmit it to President Barclay through the diplomatic pouch. I said that the Department regretted very much to note that the outcome of the survey was much less favorable than had been anticipated and that the United States Steel Corporation was not interested in further investigation of mineral deposits in Liberia. In this connection I read to Mr. Walker for his information the summary of the engineers’ findings as set forth in the letter from Mr. Sias to President Barclay.

Mr. Walker said that he was very sorry indeed to learn of this outcome, and said he did not know what to do next. I asked him whether he had received any instructions from his Government as to what steps he should take in the event the United States Steel Corporation’s report was unfavorable. Mr. Walker replied that he had received only informal communications from the Secretary of the Treasury, but that he had no official instructions to take up the matter with any other American company. He said, however, that he was prepared to approach the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, or any other reputable concerns that we might suggest, as soon as he heard from his Government.

I told Mr. Walker that we were telegraphing to Monrovia the summary of the findings and that we could indicate in the telegram that he was prepared to act if instructions were forthcoming. I added that the Department would be very glad to use its good offices in any way that seemed feasible in order to assist in the development of Liberia’s iron ore resources. Mr. Walker said that he would communicate with his Government and would devote some study to the question within the next few days, and would then come to Washington to discuss the subject with the Department.