882.72/13: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in France ( Bliss )

7126. Your 6674 [6774]. Please reply to Foreign Office in following sense:

The point of view of the United States Government on the question of financial rehabilitation in Liberia is set forth in a memorandum which was handed by the Department of State to the French Ambassador on November 19.9 This Government feels that financial aid and rehabilitation of Liberia is not a matter to be considered at the Peace Conference and should be settled directly among the Governments concerned. This Government is gratified that apparently the Government of the Republic is disposed to share the view point of the American Government in this respect.

The United States as the next friend of Liberia and as sponsor for the loan of 1912 has always been looked to for the establishment [Page 467] of the necessary reforms in Liberia and the performance of the obligations of that Republic, under the loan agreement and in international affairs. This has been difficult in operation under the financial entente. In consequence the Government of Liberia has not been able to accomplish many things which it had hoped to accomplish, the desirability of which had been mutually agreed upon by the United States, the British and the French Receivers. The time has now arrived when the United States desires to give favorable consideration to the repeated appeals of Liberia and the colored people of this country, who have evinced a renewed interest in Liberia’s affairs and are petitioning that the United States Government, as the founder of Liberia and for other historic reasons and ties, should give more definite assistance than has been extended in the past. At the time of the exchange of notes and negotiations for the refunding of the loan of 1912, this Government invited the French Government to take part in the receivership. Events have now proved that multiple control of Liberian financial affairs has not given the expected results and benefits to the people of Liberia and this Government consequently put forward a new proposal for the financial rehabilitation of Liberia as outlined in the memorandum of November 19, which is undertaken solely in the interest of Liberia itself. This Government desires to emphasize that the proposal of November 19 is in no wise in the nature of the establishment of a protectorate over Liberia, nor is it to be considered as indicating that the United States has the slightest desire to establish or intention of establishing such a protectorate. On the contrary, it is the earnest and fixed desire of this Government that the sovereignty and welfare of Liberia shall be conserved and protected and it is this point of view alone which prompts the Government of the United States to set forth the proposal for the reorganization of Liberian finances.

The application for concession by the Société Coloniale has been fully dealt with by Department in note to French Chargé10 and summary cabled to you in Department’s 7043.11

The Department reserves for later discussion the question of the landing of the German cable.12

  1. See telegram of Dec. 7, 1918, 4 p.m. to the Chargé in Great Britain, Foreign Relations, 1918, p. 545.
  2. Note of Jan. 18, p. 517.
  3. Not printed.
  4. For papers concerning cable concession, see pp. 504 ff.