Liberia from 1912 to 1930
Daniel Edward Howard was the President of Liberia from 1912 to 1920 and had to deal with wars on all fronts - internally and externally. The finances of the State were so bad that the pay of government employees was suspended for months a at time.
The European war, World War I, resulted in the trade between Liberia and Britain, France and the United States reduced to almost zero due to the German submarine blockade. In 1917, Liberia joined the Allies against Germany and liquidated a property of German nationals in Liberia. The money generated from this liquidation was deposited into the Liberian government bank account to compensate for loss of revenue from the blockade. The war ended in 1920, and Liberia's Legislature ratified the Treaty of Versailles.
Charles D. B. King became Liberia's President in 1920 and serve for 10 years. Since the war had caused the financial situation of Liberia to be in such bad condition, President King and a commission embarked upon a journey to the United States to get assistance in paying of her debts and straightening her financial affairs. They arrived in March of 1921, shortly after President Harding had taken office. The State Department and Treasury had all new personnel and the Congress had many new congressmen.
Congress had suspended all foreign credit and extension of foreign loans, even though the State department was sympathetic with the request from the Liberian delegation. Negotiation drag on until October before the State Department finally granted Liberia a loan for five million dollars. The commission was greatly relieved because the long, painful negotiations were complete. However, great disappointment followed when the U.S. Congress failed to ratify the agreement.
In 1923, the Firestone Rubber Company explored the possibilities of establishing a rubber plantation in Liberia. In fact, the conditions in Liberia are ideal for rubber trees and a one million acre plantation was established in Harbal. This was a great economic boost for Liberia due to the employment of 25,000 workers. A loan for 5 million dollars was secured shortly afterwards that allowed Liberia to consolidate and bond all internal and external depts. In addition, certain public works were to be developed with money from this loan. One of which was the establishment of Liberia's first radio station which broadcast its first message in 1927.
While the nation was feeling so good about the recent events, tragedy occurred in November of 1927 when a ship carrying soldiers sank near the Monrovian port killing thirty including former President Daniel Howard and his son.
President King and his vice-president resigned from office in 1930 admits scandal resulting for the accusations of slavery and forced labor. In 1921, the Liberian legislature approved a provision prohibiting the export of labor to the Island of Fernando Po. These laborers were said to be forced into work. The League of Nations established a commission to determine the extent of forced labor and slavery still practiced by in Liberia. The Liberian government also appointed a commission to investigate these allegations. It was found that forced labor was used for construction of certain public works such as roads in the interior. And certain tribes did practice domestic servitude that could be considered as slavery. These practices were ordered to cease but some politicians and leading citizen demanded that the King administration step down.