The Ambassador in Liberia (Dudley) to the Secretary of State
102. In conversation with Liberian Secretary State Dennis, Ambassador conveyed sense Deptel 87 April 21,1 pointing out our observation should not be construed interference internal affairs Liberian Government but rather friendly advice from one friendly government to another based upon long years mutual interest.
Ambassador’s decision discuss matter Secretary State first predicated upon inability see President today and desire feel out Secretary State on his attitude problem and what possibly might be Tubman’s attitude toward US concern purely internal matter.
Secretary Dennis expressed surprise and frankly stated he had no knowledge Secretary Treasury had approached Firestone Bank for loan. In off-the-record discussion, he pointed out his advice not sought in matters this kind since politicians know he approves only sound fiscal practices and would speak out against many matters involving finance currently being practiced. He stated a small group of men surrounding President are giving him unsound advice including Attorney General Cassel, Richard Henries, Chairman House Foreign Affairs Committee and Secretary Treasury William Dennis, …
Dennis compared Tubman with late President Harding, stating both honest but could not say no to friends, in this case politicians. He then arranged appointment for Ambassador to see Tubman.
Secretary Dennis thinks and Ambassador agrees that new agreement whereby Firestone will pay income tax in lieu fixed percentage on gross exports. It may have some bearing on a possible loan request at this time, especially since it is generally believed this new method of payment will increase Firestone payments to government to approximately $500,000 to $750,000 per year. If this reasoning correct, government [Page 1721] may rely on these increased payments take care short-term credit loans from bank.2
- In his telegram 104, April 26, from Monrovia, not printed, Ambassador Dudley reported that he discussed the Liberian financial position with President Tubman. The President accepted the Department of State’s strong feeling in the matter in a friendly spirit, but Ambassador Dudley concluded that the President did not anticipate a deficit nor any radical change in fiscal policy (876.10/4–2650). In May the Liberian Government did borrow $400,000 from the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Telegram 134, May 26, from Monrovia, not printed, reported that President Tubman had finally apparently realized the fiscal dangers confronting his government, and he had ordered a curtailment of all but necessary government expenditures (876.10/5–2650). Telegram 27, August 9, from Monrovia, not printed, reported that overall Liberian financial situation had greatly improved and that President Tubman was confident that the government was emerging from the financial crisis (876.00/8–950).↩