The Chargé in Liberia (Richardson) to the Department of State
160. In frank conversation this morning Tubman emphatically expressed views on proposed loan (Deptel 102, January 311). He states he emphasized to Meier before his departure waterworks and hydro plant had first priority and Tappita–Tchien road second, that [Page 1289] Meier insisted on building other roads first and Tubman regards present projects, particularly road to forests proposal, as effort to force him adopt undesired plan for benefit US economic interests. Malcolm Pirnie2 has informed Liberian mission Washington reluctant undertake survey unless reasonable assurances (1) critical construction materials will be obtainable and (2) project can be financed near future. Tubman willing postpone hydro and understands Export Import Bank has not definitely rejected waterworks but political considerations (Embdes p. 249, January 253) make impossible any road unless preceded or accompanied by waterworks.
I corrected forest road misapprehension and emphasized economic advantages present proposal. Tubman recognizes them but political considerations emphatically dominant.
French offer construct waterworks for $950,000. Detailed offer not yet presented and Tubman refuses see French representatives prior receipt and study of offer.
Revised loan agreement probably satisfactory with clarifying amendments to be given me by Tubman Tuesday but no agreement will be concluded prior waterworks.