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- Mackenzie, Melville Douglas
- Archives and manuscripts
About this work
***EC started cataloguing Liberia papers in Jan 2014 - these have been half completed. Will complete cataloguing once Medact project is complete. These records are still in the acc box and have not been harvested.**** Melville Douglas Mackenzie undertook three missions to Liberia. In 1931, he was a member of the Brunot Commission which worked to develop a plan for the political and economic stabilisation of Liberia. In late 1931 and early 1932, following the Commission, conflict began to surface between the Kru tribes and the Liberian government. The government and tribes requested that the League of Nations send a mediator, asking specifically for Mackenzie, as he was known from his involvement in the Brunot Commission of 1931. In order for negotiations to begin, some conditions were laid down by Mackenzie, including safe conduct for the Kru returning from the jungle, no punishments to be administered without his authorisation, the army to stay in barracks while he was in the country, he was to go where he wanted and talk to whoever he wanted. He persuaded the Kru to return from the jungle, where they had retreated during the violence, and ensured that they were allowed to rebuild their homes. The tribes surrendered their arms, and several boundary disputes were settled, many of which centred on fishing rights in rivers. He invited anyone who wanted to send him a submission, and held meetings with the tribes people the entire length of the coast. For this purpose, a British warship, HMS Rochester, was placed at his disposal. His final report contained recommendations for future governance. When he visited again in 1933 some of the agreements were holding up but he was largely disappointed by the lack of progress made. From box list created by Andrew: In 1931 MDM visited Liberia as one of a 3 person commission to advise on control of infectious diseases, including malaria and yellow fever. (general sanitation work). In 1932 he returned at the request of the Liberian govenrment to mediate in a civil war, essentially between the government and the tribal peoples outside Monrovia. He succeeded in negogiated peace and persuading the tribes to voluntarily disarm. In 1933 he returned to evaluate the extent of compliance with his recommendations. From press cutting; M. Charles Brunot, M. Ligthart and Mackenzie were sent by the League of Nations to Liberia in 1931 to investigate what forms of financial, santiary and administrative assistance could be recommended to the country. (Brunot Commission). Mackenzie's role was to tackle yellow fever in the country and to plan a sanitary reorganisation of its public health work. Yellow Fever was blamed for causing social and economic problems in the region. The Kroo tribes were disarmed in 1932 by Mackenzie, acting as a special emissary of the Council of the League. Mackenzie also established boundaries between the tribes and enabled the provision of a reoad to give the Kroos access to the sea. However, following this plan, Kroo men were attacked on their way to the sea and mistreated by the Liberian Frontier Force.