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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa
(1937)

Liberia,   pp. 785-857 PDF (27.0 MB)


Page 786


FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1937, VOLUME II
certain Powers, it is not inconceivable that Liberia might, at some
time, be placed in such a situation as to determine her to call on the
United States for armed assistance, basing her call as in the past,
on Article 8 of the Treaty of 1862. Should we decline to furnish
assistance, as is likely, our refusal, no matter on what proper grounds
it might be based, would undoubtedly weaken Liberia's defensive
position against whatever menace faced her. Moreover, our refusal
to go to her assistance with our armed forces would undoubtedly
create a certain amount of embarrassment to this Government, vis-A-
vis the large element of our Negro population, who have a strong
sentimental interest in Liberia. On the other hand, the negotiation
of a new treaty at this time would be in line with our present policy
towards Liberia to strengthen the Republic's prestige and interna-
tional position in every proper way with a view to minimizing the
possibility of foreign aggression against her and thus avoiding the
necessity of a call on us for active assistance, either diplomatic or by
use of our armed forces. Should Liberia express during the negoti-
ations of the new treaty her unwillingness to abrogate Article 8 of
the Treaty of 1862, I believe that the question can be ironed out by
friendly discussion between the two Governments. I do not antic-
ipate any particular difficulty in explaining to Liberia, should the
question arise, our conviction that in the long run it will be in her
interest to abrogate Article 8. Nor do I believe, in view of the close
relations now existing between the two countries, that Liberian
officials would wish to complicate the negotiations or run the risk
of marring their friendship with this Government by appealing
directly to individuals in the United States.
711.822/5a
    The Secretary of State to the Minister in Liberia (Walton)
No. 43                                WASHINGTON, June 22, 1937.
  SIR: There are enclosed herewith for transmission to the Liberian
Government at such time as you deem appropriate, a proposed note
and a draft treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation.
  It is believed that the note explains sufficiently the purpose of the
draft treaty, but if there is any point with regard to the note or draft
treaty concerning which you are in doubt you should communicate
with the Department by cable.
  If the proposal to negotiate on the basis of the enclosed draft meets
-with the approval of the Liberian Government, the Department
wishes you to proceed at once to conduct the negotiations, asking for
such additional instructions as may be required. You should report
all developments promptly by mail, using the telegraph also when to
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