Mr. Coolidge to Mr. Foster.
Paris, December 9, 1892. (Received December 19.)
Sir: Some time ago I learned privately that negotiations were going on between France and Liberia. On inquiry, I found that Baron de Stein was the authorized agent on the part of the Republic of Liberia to settle with France the long-pending questions of boundary. I had an interview with this gentleman during the negotiations, which were yesterday brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
By a treaty, which was to be signed on the 8th instant, Liberia cedes to France the seacoast east of the Cavally River, and receives in exchange certain extension of territory in the interior. She receives an indemnity [Page 297]of 25,000 francs and France recognizes the sovereignty of the Republic within the boundary lines as now agreed upon by the treaty.
It is evident that the French have obtained from Liberia concessions of some importance, for the seacoast is the only part of the country which is worth anything, for the present, at least. But, on the other hand, the territory ceded was entirely unsettled by Liberia. France laid claim to it by treaties with the native chiefs, and the 25,000 francs were welcome.
It is certainly to the advantage of the little Republic to have this troublesome matter settled once for all in a friendly manner with her powerful neighbor. I have no doubt that the growing desire of France for laying the foundation of a future colonial empire in Africa would make it much more difficult to obtain later on such terms as these, and I have not hesitated to say so to Baron de Stein. The energetic protest made by the Government of the United States on the 13th of July, as reported in No. 26 of July 22 has, I think, induced the French to make the present settlement.
I inclose herewith an English copy of the treaty which Mr. de Stein furnished me before it was signed; he will send, later on, a map upon which the new boundary lines are delineated.
He claims that he has increased very much the size of the Republic.
I have, etc.