882.51/897a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis)

4112. Following is substance of memorandum handed to British Chargé yesterday:

Department has given careful consideration to suggestion British Government that financial aid and rehabilitation of Liberia be considered at the Peace Conference.5 American Peace Mission is of opinion that this subject has no bearing on other questions for consideration at conference and should be settled directly among the governments. Liberian question is not one affecting West Africa. Liberia is an independent nation and should not be considered in relation with captured German colonies in West Africa. United States as Liberia’s next friend has always been looked to for establishment necessary reforms and performance of obligations under Loan Agreement.6 This has been difficult under financial entente and Liberia has not accomplished many things desired by Receivers. The time has now come when United States desires to give favorable consideration to appeals of Liberia and colored people in the United States. American Government does not anticipate British Government will interpose objection to new proposal as outlined in Department’s memorandum of November 197 regarding all American Receivership. New proposal in no way to be regarded as indicating slightest desire to establish protectorate by United States but merely to maintain historic position as Liberia’s next friend. This Government is particularly anxious that opportunity for trade and investment be afforded foreign capital subject to proper safeguards.

  1. See telegram of Dec. 21, 1918, 1 p.m., from the Ambassador in Great Britain, Foreign Relations, 1918, p. 546.
  2. For negotiations, see ibid., 1912, pp. 667 ff.
  3. See telegram of Dec. 7, 1918, 4 p.m., to the Chargé in Great Britain, ibid., 1918, p. 545.