Mr. Coolidge to Mr. Gresham.

No. 141.]

Sir: I duly received your confidential dispatch No. 145, of January 14, instructing me to ask for an answer to the representations made by your direction under date of July 13 with reference to the action of the French authorities in Liberia. The contents of this dispatch engaged [Page 299]my immediate attention, and before leaving for Rome I had a personal conversation on the subject with Mr. Develle, the new minister for foreign affairs, who promised that a reply should be made to my note. Upon my return I recalled the attention of the minister to the matter. In his answer, which is inclosed, he states substantially that a regular treaty has been signed with Liberia by which this Republic, in return for certain concessions made by France, waives her claim to the territory lying between the rivers San Pedro and Cavalry, and recognizes the thalweg of the river last named as the dividing line between Liberia and the territory now placed under the protectorate of France.

The French Republic has therefore complied with the wish expressed in our communication of July 13, that no territory should be taken from Liberia without her express consent.

The new dividing line and the terms of the arrangement made with Liberia are fully explained on the map and in the copy of the treaty which I forwarded to the Department with my Nos. 91 and 112.

I inclose herewith a copy of Mr. Develle’s note, together with a translation of the same.

I have, etc.,

T. Jefferson Coolidge.
[Inclosure in No. 141—Translation.]

Mr. Develle to Mr. Coolidge.

Mr. Minister: By your letter of the 16th of this month you were good enough to recall to me a communication which you had addressed on the 13th of last July to my predecessor in order to bring to his attention the observations which the notification of the treaties concluded in 1890 and 1891 by the Government of the Republic with various native chiefs of the Ivory coast had suggested to the Federal Government. After having made on this occasion certain reservations on the subject of the French protectorate over the territories situated between the San Pedro and Cavalry rivers, which, according to the cabinet of Washington, have been recognized for a number of years as belonging to the Republic of Liberia, you informed Mr. Ribot that the Government of the United States would not, however, object to acknowledge the validity of the protectorate in question provided the Republic of Liberia should recognize itself the legitimacy of the rights of France over that region.

The legation of the United States not having received since then any answer from my department on the subject, you were good enough, in a recent conversation to which you refer, to express to me your desire to be informed as to the present condition of this affair, while stating, moreover, that the Federal Government did not in any way wish to raise a question of international law on this occasion.

I have the honor to inform you that the negotiations entered into recently at Paris between the delegates of the Government of the Republic, and of the Government of Liberia, with the view of arranging an agreement in regard to the determination of the boundaries of the French possessions of the Ivory coast and the territories of Liberia, have resulted in the signing of an arrangement which is to be submitted to the ratification of the two Governments.

By the terms of this act, the boundary line of the respective possessions of the two countries shall be established by the thalweg of the Cavally River. France gives up the rights acquired by her from old treaties concluded on various points of the grain coast and recognizes the sovereignty of the Republic of Liberia over the coast to the west of the Cavalry River; the Republic of Liberia abandons on its side all pretentions which it could put forward to the territories of the Ivory coast situated east of said river.

Accept, etc.,

Jules Develle.