702.6282/27: Telegram

The Chargé in Liberia (Hibbard) to the Secretary of State

247. Department’s telegram No. 180, July 13, 9 p.m. Since the receipt of the telegram under acknowledgement I have talked with President Barclay three times regarding the expulsion of the German Consul from Liberia. I have presented the case from all angles and each time he has agreed with me as to the desirability of having him removed. He feels, however, that in view of this country’s neutrality and its present vulnerability he can not afford an open break with Germany. He is therefore awaiting some overt act which will give him an excuse for asking him to leave. He assured me this morning that he has the Consul under constant surveillance and would take advantage of the slightest pretext to remove him.

For 3 weeks following the arrival of our troops here all messages from the German Consulate were held up by the Government radio station. The Consul made complaints to the Secretary of State and his code messages to Berlin only are now sent.

I am informed by the President however that these are held up 2 to 3 days. They go via Freetown where the British state copies are taken for the Foreign Office. The Germans are not permitted to send any cables to other destinations although a specific request has been made for the transmission of messages to Abidjan in the French Ivory Coast. The French Consul who represents the Vichy Government but actually collaborates with the British and United States has made [Page 425] excuses not to send code messages for the Germans although he has been requested to do so. Both my British colleague and I have seen the correspondence between the German Consul and the Secretary of State on this subject.

There are rumors that there is a radio transmitter in the German Consulate. I can not verify this but so far none of our Army Signal Corps sets, nor the Firestone radio station, nor the set in this Legation has picked up any signals which might emanate from this source.

There is the possibility that messages are going by native hand to the French Ivory Coast and being sent from there. However this method would take at least a week and the value of much of the information so sent would consequently be greatly reduced.