File No. 3532/19–20.

Ambassador White to the Secretary of State.

No. 90.]

Sir: With reference to my dispatch No. 84, of the 27th ultimo, I had the honor of cabling you on the 20th of September that the frontier agreement between France and Liberia had been signed, and that I expected to be shortly in a position to send you a copy of that document, which, thanks to M. Pichon’s courtesy, I transmit herewith, and also a translation of the same.

I have, etc.,

Henry White.

franco-liberian agreement.

Minister of foreign affairs.

The Government of the French Republic and the Government of the Republic of Liberia being desirous of fixing definitively the limits of French West Africa and of Liberia, but recognizing that the clauses of the accord of December 8, 1892, concluded to this end are materially impossible of application, have decided, by common accord, not to have recourse to theoretic lines for the establishment of the frontier, but to utilize to the greatest possible extent the natural topographical lines most appropriate to prevent all possible contestations in the future and to assure an effective domination on both sides, and have to this effect designated as their plenipotentiaries to conclude an arrangement—

  • The Government of the French Republic:
  • M. Gustave Binger, director at the ministry of the colonies.
  • M. Soulange-Bodin, minister plenipotentiary, under director at the ministry of foreign affairs.
  • The Government of the Republic of Liberia:
  • M. Frederic E. R. Johnson, minister of foreign affairs.
  • M. J. P. Crommelin, chargé d’affaires of the Republic of Liberia at Paris.
  • The Franco-Liberian frontier would be constituted by:
    The left bank of the river Makona, from the entry of this river into Sierra-Leone to a point to be determined about 5 kilometers south of Bofosso.
    A line starting from this last-named point, proceeding southeastward, leaving to the north the following villages: Koutoumai, Kissi-Koutoumai, Soundebou, N’Zapa, N’Zébéla, Koiama, Banguédou, and rejoining a source of the river Nuon or one of its tributaries to be determined on the spot at a maximum of 10 kilometers to the south and in the vicinity of Lola. In this section of the frontier the line to be drawn should avoid separating the villages of a tribe, under tribe (sous-tribu) or grouping, and utilize as much as possible the natural topographical lines, such as the course of brooks and rivers.
    The right bank of the river Nuon as far as its confluence with the Cavalry.
    The right bank of the Cavalry as far as the sea.

[Page 831]

In case the river Nuon should not be a tributary of the Cavally, the right bank of the Nuon would form the boundary line only as far as the surroundings of Toulepleu; at and to the south of the suburbs of this village the boundary line would be drawn between the Nuon and the Cavally in the general direction of the parallel of this point, but so as not to separate the villages of the same tribe, subtribe, or grouping, and to utilize the natural topographical lines from the intersection of this parallel with the river Cavally, the boundary line would be constituted by the right bank of the river Cavally as far as the sea.

Article 2.

In order to keep up an efficacious police along the frontier, the Liberian Government will assume the obligation of establishing a certain number of posts, which the French authorities will have the faculty of occupying should the resources of the Liberian Government not allow them to maintain a garrison itself at that moment. The number and the position of these posts will be determined on the spot by common accord at the moment of the fixing of the boundary; the force of each will not exceed 40 to 50 men.

It is understood that the Liberian Government will give the French authorities notice two months in advance of its intention to occupy the post or posts above referred to and that the post or posts will be handed over within five days following the arrival of the Liberian police forces.

Article 3.

Navigation on the waterways forming the frontier shall be free and open to traffic, both to French citizens and to Liberian subjects and citizens.

France will have the right to undertake, at its own expense, in the course or on either bank of the rivers in question, works which might be necessary to render them navigable or improve their navigability, it being always understood that this fact will in no way effect the right of sovereignty belonging to the Republic of Liberia on the bank which it occupies. In case the works executed should give rise to the establishment of taxes, these would be determined by a new arrangement between the two governments.

Article 4.

The clauses of the arrangement of December 8, 1892, are maintained in all the provisions that are not contrary to the present arrangement.

Article 5.

The ratifications will be exchanged before March 1, 1908.

The operation of fixing the boundary will be proceeded with within three months following the exchange in question.

In testimony whereof the undersigned, duly authorized to this effect, have concluded the present arrangement, to which they have affixed their seals.

[l. s.] (Signed)
G. Binger.

[l. s.] (Signed)
A. Soulange-Bodin.

[l. s.] (Signed)
T. E. R. Johnson.

[l. s.] (Signed)
J. P. Crommelin.