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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 852

and Company mentioned in memorandum is unquestionably the
Netherlands firm of W. G. Muller and Company of Rotterdam which
after a period of financial difficulties has recently been reorganized on
sound basis with very conservative Netherlands directors who would
not consider operating through an organization such as Neep. Mul-
ler relinquished iron mining interests in Morocco several years ago
and has been endeavoring for some years to dispose of iron mining
properties in Spain valued at approximately 2 million florins. Two
of the best informed financial personalities both emphatic that no
Netherlands capital would participate in Neep project. Neep main-
tains accounts with Amsterdamsche Bank but it is inconceivable that
the latter would consider financially supporting former. The direc-
tors of Neep practically unknown in the leading banking circles here
but inquiries reveal that they are of good repute although having no
large resources here. My investigation conclusively indicates that
source of any available capital is foreign to the Netherlands."
  I believe that you may consider it desirable to give the sense of this
information to President Barclay in strict confidence. At the same
time you may find it appropriate to discuss with him the present situ-
ation regarding colonial expansion in Africa. As you know, it is the
desire of the American Government to see Liberia prosper and pro-
gress in every way. Many of our citizens are similarly interested in
Liberia's progress and independence and any developments which
threaten that independence are naturally of concern to us.
  You are of course aware that German leaders have made several
public statements recently regarding Germany's colonial ambitions.
On October 28 Mussolini made a speech in support of German colo-
nial demands. The German thesis is that her economic problems are
inseparable from the colonial problem and that Germany must regain
possession of colonial property. German leaders have made it clear
in recent discussions, however, that they do not insist upon a return
of the specific colonies lost during the war but that they would be
agreeable to accepting territory in Africa of equal value.
  In view of this situation I feel sure that President Barclay will
realize the imperative necessity of giving the closest scrutiny to pro-
posals such as those involved in the Neep concession and in the offer
of a forestry expert.
  You are aware that the Department has always felt that Liberian
resources should be developed, in the best interest of the country, by
outside capital representing a diversity of national interests, par-
ticularly those whose governments have no territorial ambitions in
Africa. However, the Department has also felt that the Liberian
Government should avoid granting concessions even to friendly for-
eign interests unless it is convinced that they are not merely specu-

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