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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

Liberia,   pp. 785-857 PDF (27.0 MB)

Page 830

sions in Liberia and the confidence which your informant has shown in
this government in conveying these facts to you. While unwilling to
make any official commitments of any kind whatsoever in such a matter
we are desirous of rendering such assistance to the Liberian Govern-
ment as may be proper. We suggest, therefore, that should your
opinion in the premises be requested by Secretary Dennis or Presi-
dent Barclay you might in your personal capacity reply orally basing
your comment on the observations reported in latter half of the Lega-
tion's No. 33, September 16, noon, 1935,52 and the introductory and
numbered paragraphs of the Department's telegram No. 24, September
26, noon, 1935.52
  [The Charge in Liberia, Hibbard, informed the Department in tele-
gram No. 33, September 16, 1935, noon, (882.6347 Consolidated Afri-
can Selections Trust/1) that President Barclay of Liberia had re-
quested his opinion of the agreement proposed by the Consolidated
African Selections Trust, Limited, a British concern headed by
Chester A. Beatty, to the Liberian Government for the exclusive ex-
ploitation, production, and marketing of diamonds for a period of 99
years within the Republic of Liberia. Hibbard reported as follows:
  "After studying the agreement carefully I told him
      (1) That I could only give my personal opinion on the question;
    I could not commit my Government as I did not know whether
    it would wish to give an opinion but certainly not without knowl-
    edge of the agreement;
      (2) As far as I could observe there was no political commit-
    ment contained in the agreement, however, if rich mineral de-
    posits were found they might be a temptation to any colonial
    power in Africa unless Liberia were strong enough to protect
      (3) The agreement seemed to me too inclusive and binding on
    the Government. I felt it unwise to commit the mineral resources
    of the entire country over such a long period of time; if deposits
    of great value were found friction would inevitably ensue;
      (4) The agreement did not provide adequate compensation to
    the Government for such exclusive rights.
  "The President has now returned the agreement to me with a request
that I ask your advice on the matter. He says his entire present policy
is based on the advice and assistance of the United States Government
and that he does not wish to take such a step without your opinion. I
realize that such a request may be embarrassing but it has been put to
me in such a way that I could not refuse without offense. ...
0 See bracketed note, infra.

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