Слике страница


rived at Monrovia, and reports that the town of River Cess, on the Kru coast, was attacked on June 30, at 2 a. m., by a force of rebellious natives estimated at three or four hundred.

River Cess was garrisoned by a force of about eighty Frontier soldiers under a Liberian officer. It will be remembered that this is the same town and district which Major Ballard has held in subjection for the last five or six months. When Major Young was compelled to take leave it became absolutely necessary to have Major Ballard come to Monrovia, and take over the administrative work Major Young had given up.

I stated in my No. 110 of May 15, 1913, that "the Kru coast has only been subdued on account of the wholesome fear the natives have of Major Ballard, and it is anticipated that as soon as he leaves that station and puts a Liberian officer in charge there will be trouble again. This forecast has been literally fulfilled within less than five weeks after Major Ballard left River Cess.

It was by the merest chance that Captain Newton was at River Cess at the time of the attack. He had gone there for the purpose of paying the troops stationed at that post, and intended to proceed immediately to his own station on the Cavalla river. Apparently the natives did not know of his presence, which is regarded here as having saved the situation.

* The Kru natives have profound contempt for Liberian officers, and know of their lack of stamina and military skill.

Contact with German merchants on shore, and German sailors and officers aboard ship has made them very untractable. The Liberian Government has actually never had more than nominal control over several of the large towns on the Kru coast. * * * This cannot be remedied until the Receivership can get a revenue cutter. Once these towns are subdued and governmental authority well established there, they will contribute large revenues to the Republic. But this is a task of no mean size. The Frontier Force is at present far too small to undertake this work and for the time being will doubtless have to confine itself to the preservation of order as best it can.

The present situation on the Kru coast again demonstrates the point I have called to the Department's attention in some of my recent despatches, that three American officers are not enough to deal with present conditions in Liberia. To keep order American officers are necessary on the English boundary, the French boundary, the Kru coast, and at one or two important points in the interior. Moreover, at least one American officer will have to be permanently stationed at Monrovia, to conduct the administrative work and prevent hopeless confusion and inefficient handling of funds. Obviously, this is too much for three men.

Another serious question is likely to arise out of this last attack on River Cess. During the fight, I understand, the houses and stores of the foreign merchants were shot into by the Kru natives. I have not heard that any foreigners were injured; but the incident will very probably be used to make good the previous assertions of the German merchants at River Cess that their life and property are not safe at that place. I have [etc.]


File No. 882.00/486.

The American Chargé d'Affaires to the Secretary of State. No. 134.]


Monrovia, September 27, 1913. Sir: I had the honor to report to the Department somewhat at length in my No. 110 of May 15, 1913, concerning the disorder which existed among the native tribes that occupy Liberian territory adjacent to the Sierra Leone-Liberia boundary. I regret to inform the Department that from reports which have recently reached Monrovia it would seem that conditions have gotten worse in this section of the country instead of better.

The specific causes which have led up to the present state of affairs are so obscured in a mass of conflicting reports from the Liberian commissioners operating in the affected district, which are conspicuous for apparent inaccuracies, petty jealousy, rivalry, spite and venality, that I seriously doubt whether the Government itself has a correct understanding of the situation. In a general way it seems that the root of the difficulty may be found in the untrustworthiness of the commissioners which the Government has appointed to look after its affairs in the boundary districts. The proper supervision of native tribes that dwell in Liberian territory contiguous to the Sierra Leone-Liberia boundary is one of the most pressing problems before the Republic, and is destined, if not speedily and satisfactorily solved, to involve the Liberian Government in controversies with the Colonial Government of Sierra Leone that may have far-reaching consequences.

The Liberian Government lives in constant fear of aggressive acts and encroachments upon its territory by the Sierra Leone authorities, and yet it seems to me that very little care is exercised to keep down contentions and disorders which could easily furnish plausible ercuses for additional aggressions by officials of the Sierra Leone Government. In a recent conversation with the British Consul General, conditions along the Liberian side of the border were represented to me as being very grave. He stated that the whole population of a large and populous district was in revolt, and many chiefs with their retainers had fled into Sierra Leone for protection and safety. The Consul General unhesitatingly blamed the maladministration of Liberian officials for the disorders and sought to leave with me the impression that the situation was hopeless. However, he took great pains to deprecate the suspicion entertained by the Liberian Government, which apparently had come to his knowledge, that there were ulterior motives back of the strong representations which I understand he has been making concerning conditions on the boundary. As if to remove any doubt that might have lodged in my mind respecting the matter, he earnestly assured me that there was not the slightest desire on the part of the British Government to acquire any of the territory now recognized as Liberian. But he did not tell me, what I subsequently learned from the Secretary of State, that the Government was being urged to accept a proposition that would permit the disgruntled natives to throw off their allegiance to Liberia

and become British subjects. Great emphasis was laid on the immediate necessity of restoring order, and the Consul General gave it as his opinion that the task would be altogether too great for the Liberian troops now stationed along the border. These number some two hundred and fifty men, who are under the command of Captain Hawkins, one of the American officers. It is admitted that he and his detachment have been and are doing good work, but the distracting activities of the commissioners among the natives have kept up such a turmoil that much of the good that Captain Hawkins could otherwise have accomplished has been nullified by their presence. The intimation was also dropped by the Consul General that the Sierra Leone Government was willing to use its police force to assist in the work of pacification, and from what was said one might readily infer that the next step would be to insist that the use of the Sierra Leone police force had actually become necessary.

From the General Receiver I have learned that the Collector of Customs, A. D. Thomas, at Laingedue, an interior station the Sierra Leone-Liberia boundary, was killed and the customs house looted by rebellious natives in the early part of September. This incident is also a reflex of the same boundary disorder.

The delimitation of the Sierra Leone-Liberia boundary has been in progress since March of the current year and is now, I understand, practically completed. Mr. James G. B. Lee, an American of New York City, who has represented Liberia on the Delimitation Commission, has apparently given general satisfaction to the British and Liberian Governments by his work. There are a few undetermined questions remaining which are, I am informed, in process of adjustment. The presence of Mr. Lee on the boundary has been very helpful in preventing the native disorders from assuming far greater proportions. It seems that Captain Hawkins and Mr. Lee have both succeeded in inspiring respect for their personal worth on the part of the British officials with whom they have come in contact. More men of their kind could undoubtedly unravel for the Republic the muddle existing on the boundary. But I very much fear that there are no Liberians of this quality who are likely to become interior commissioners, while the Americans in the employ of the Government at this time are too few to admit of sending even one more officer from their number to the Sierra Leone frontier.

The long-continued practice of sending weak, arbitrary, venal agents to the interior and boundaries to perform the functions of Government for their superiors, who remain constantly at Monrovia playing petty politics, will have to cease or disaster will overtake the Government. Just what the Government will do to rectify conditions that have brought about the present revolt along the Liberian side of the border, remains to be seen. Until now its efforts have been confined to talk, I have [etc.]


File No. 882.00/487.

The Secretary of State to the American Chargé d'Affaires. No. 62.]


Washington, November 18, 1913. Sir: The Department has received your No. 134 of September 27, 1913, relative to the disturbances which exist among the native tribes occupying Liberian territory adjacent to the Sierra Leone-Liberia boundary, and in reply informs you that it is the hope of the Department that every earnest effort possible will be made by the Liberian Government to restore order in that region. The British Government has cooperated heartily with the Government of the United States throughout the long loan negotiations and it would be most regrettable should Liberia not be able to cope with the situation and force Great Britain to take drastic measures to ensure peave in its possessions along the Liberian frontier. I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:




File No. 882.42/2.
The Secretary of State to the President of the American Coloniza-

tion Society.

Washington June 27, 1911. Sir: I transmit herewith copy of a communication which has been received from Mr. Ernest Lyon, Liberian Consul General in this city, in which he states that he has been informed by you that there is $60,000 in the custody of the American Colonization Society belonging to the Government of Liberia and that in following out a resolution passed by the Society the President of Liberia has been requested to designate an officer of the Department to approve the account of your Society for the Donovan Fund, to receive the balance due, and give proper acquittance to the Society.

The Department will be glad to be fully advised upon the subject of Mr. Lyon's letter in order that the matter may receive proper consideration. I am [etc.]

P. C. Knox.


The Libcrian Consul General to the Secretary of State.


Baltimore, June 12, 1911. SIR: By direction of the President of Liberia, I have the honor to inform your excellency that the President of the Colonization Society at Washington,

1 See reference to this subject in the message of the President of Liberia, ante.

D. C., has notified him that there is a balance of sixty thousand dollars in the custody of the Society belonging to Liberia, which he is ready to turn over to the proper authorities. The Colonization Society, unaware of the presence of a representative for Liberia at Washington, has by resolution requested the President of Liberia to " designate some officer of the United States Department to approve the account of the American Colonization Society for the Donovan Fund, to receive the balance due, and to give a proper acquittance to the Society."

In compliance with the Society's request, I have been instructed by the Liberian Government to request your excellency to designate such an officer, to act in the manner suggested in said communication. The service of said officer and any other expenses arising therefrom will be a proper charge against the fund. I have been instructed further to sign all agreements with the State Department and the Society necessary to carry out their intention, in order to secure to Liberia the amount now due her.

Dr. Johnson, the President of the Society, has informed me that he will be leaving the United States in a few days and will be absent for some months; therefore respectfully requests that action be taken before his departure. With the assurance of a favorable reply, I have [etc.]


File Yo. 882.42/6

The Liberian Consul General to the Secretary of State.'


Baltimore, September 27, 1911. SIR: I have the honor to request that the inclosed, which are copies of original instructions now in my office, be filed with previous communications sent to the Department, touching the accrued Donovan Fund, now in the possession of the Washington Colonization Society, and for the settlement of which we have asked the State Department to lend us, or to designate, one of its accountants to audit the Society's accounts, in order that it may be given acquittance.

I shall be glad to learn if the Department has favorably considered the request. I have [etc.]


[Inclosure 1-Telegram.)

The General Superintendent of Public Instruction of Liberia to the Liberian

Consul General at Baltimore, Maryland.

MONBOVIA, July 17, 1911. Department Education authorises you agent Donovan Fund.


(Inclosure 2.)

The Gencral Superintendent of Public Instruction of Liberia to the Liberian

Consul General at Baltimore, Maryland.

MONROVIA, July 24, 1911. SIR: Confirming my telegram of the 17th instant I have the honor to hereby appoint you agent of the Department of Education with full power to conclude all necessary arrangements with the American Colonization Society with reference to the Donovan Funds. I hare (etc.)


1.Acknowledged Oct. 7, 1911, by the Acting Secretary of State, Mr. Adee. 882.42/6.

File No.

« ПретходнаНастави »