882.51/10–3045: Telegram

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

427. President Tubman called by appointment at Legation afternoon October 29 and discussed from 5 to 7:30 his 5-Year Plan and contemplated loan which he said had stemmed from suggestions contained in the Grew memo of conversation14 with Vice President Simpson.

After divulging plans he invited my candid opinion as to their efficacy and prospects of winning favorable consideration. I expressed inability authoritatively to reflect my Government’s attitude on matters which had not been formally presented or given consideration However, I was of the opinion my Government was in full accord with any program which envisaged revision of election laws, enactment and amendment of labor laws, extension of education, health and agricultural activities, a geological survey of entire country and road construction.

[Page 598]

I expressed doubt as to my Government making available to Liberia $4,000,000 for railroad construction and $3,018,000 for centennial celebration. I reminded President Liberian Government neither formally or informally advised my Government of intention to celebrate Republic’s 100th anniversary although Secretary State had authorized former Honorary Consul at Los Angeles to invite Governors of States to participate.

I observed that in my opinion operation of coastwise and inland waterways vessels was business proposition pregnant with promise and should be undertaken by private enterprise.

On subject of borrowing large sums for “scientific industrial research” I referred to Public Act 63 which makes possible assignment of technical assistants, as in geological survey of Bomi Hills in 1944 and presence now of technical assistants in country.

Tubman declared that, as the US already had sent various Missions to Liberia, he desired funds to enable Liberia to finance independently some of its own projects. I pointed out that Public Act 63 provides for Liberian Government’s assumption of financial responsibility.

The idea of Liberian Government’s constructing hotel for accommodation of visitors I thought impractical.

Tubman advised he was eliminating request for funds to construct railway and to operate coastwise and inland waterways vessels. He requested that I inform Department of our conversation.

At social affair on 26th former President King inquired what I thought of 5-year plan and expressed amazement that I had not seen it. He wanted to know how I, under circumstances, could properly interpret proposals to my Government. The following morning he talked with Tubman who subsequently invited me to his bungalow residence that evening. Because of previous engagement arrangements were made for me to visit President following day. President explained he had been very busy drafting message to Legislature, hence his failure go over plan in detail with me; that there was only one copy which was in possession of Secretary of Treasury and suggested that he call at Legation with document on evening of 29th.

When I alluded to fact that Secretary State had made arrangements for 2 delegates to leave Fisherman’s Lake for New York October 31, although no word had been received from Department in reply to my telegram 418, October 24 and no visas had been applied for, he intimated precipitancy was due to Secretary State’s characteristic haste.

Despite protests H. Lafayette Harmon will accompany Secretary of Treasury William E. Dennis.

I find no enthusiasm among officials or public for Liberia’s negotiating a big loan.

[
Walton
]
  1. Dated July 4, p. 591.