882.6176 F 51/18

Draft Agreement Number 1 Between the Government of Liberia and Harvey S. Firestone Concerning the Lease of Mount Barclay Rubber Plantation 11

Memorandum of Agreement (Styled Agreement Number One) made and entered into at the City of Monrovia Republic of Liberia this . . . . day of . . . . in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Five by and between the Government of the Republic of Liberia represented by Edwin Barclay Secretary of State of the said Republic, hereinafter styled the Government, of the first part, and Harvey S. Firestone a citizen of the United States of America resident at Akron in the State of Ohio of the United States of America, represented by . . . . . . . . . . hereinafter styled the Lessee, of the other part

Witnesseth:—

Article I

That whereas the said Lessee for the purpose of experimentation in the productivity of the soil and the costs of producing rubber on an extended scale in the Republic of Liberia has applied for a lease of the Rubber Plantation known as the Mount Barclay Rubber Plantation situated in the Township of Johnsonville County of Montserrado and Republic of Liberia.

The Government for and in consideration of the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) per acre per annum in gold coin of the United States of the present standard of weight and fineness, and other covenants hereinafter stipulated to be kept observed and performed by the Lessee hath agreed to let and by these presents doth grant demise and to farm-let unto the Lessee all that parcel of land situated as aforesaid and containing . . . . . . . . . . acres of land bounded and described as follows:—

To Have and to Hold the above mentioned and described premises with the buildings which are now or which may hereafter be placed thereon and the appurtenances thereunto appertaining unto the Lessee from the . . . . day of . . . . Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-five for the full end and term of one year thence next ensuing and fully [Page 390] to be completed and ended, the said Lessee yielding and paying therefor unto the Government upon the ensealing of these presents the rent of One Dollar gold per acre per annum.

Article II

And the Lessee doth Covenant hereby to and with the Government that

(a)
For the purposes hereinbefore specified he will take the premises hereby demised and that he will pay or cause to be paid the yearly rent above reserved on the day and in the manner prescribed and that on the last day of said term or any sooner determination of the estate hereby granted, or upon the last day of any extended term, the Lessee shall and will quietly leave and surrender up unto the Government all and singular the said demised premises.
(b)
And the Lessee doth further covenant and agree to furnish the Government from time to time with full reports of the scientific and technical results of the experiments carried out by the Lessee at said Plantation.
(c)
That he will not import unskilled labor for the carrying out of any operations or developments undertaken upon the Plantation hereby demised to him except in the event the local labor supply proves inadequate to the Lessee’s needs.
(d)
That in the event the local supply proves inadequate as aforesaid Lessee undertakes and agrees to import only such foreign unskilled labor to supply the local deficiency as may be acceptable to the Government.
(e)
That he in addition to the rents above reserved will pay to the Government a revenue tax of one per centum on the value of all rubber shipped from the Plantation calculated at the New York market prices prevailing at the date of the arrival of the rubber in New York. In the event this lease and agreement shall be extended for an additional term of ninety-nine years as provided in Paragraph (f) of Article III hereof, then at the end of fifty (50) years from the date of this agreement, the revenue tax provided for in this Paragraph (e) shall be subject to revision at the request of the Government or of the Lessee; and shall likewise be subject to revision at the end of every ten (10) years thereafter during the remaining term of this lease and agreement. If the parties cannot at any such period by negotiations agree upon the amount to be fixed for such revenue tax for the ensuing ten (10) years, then the Government shall appoint one arbitrator and the Lessee shall appoint one arbitrator to fix such tax, and if such arbitrators cannot agree, then the Secretary of State of the United States shall appoint a third arbitrator and the decision of two of the three arbitrators thus chosen shall be [Page 391] final and binding upon both parties; but such revenue tax shall not be greater than that commonly imposed by other governments in whose territory rubber shall at the time be produced in substantial quantities.
(f)
The Lessee shall come to an arrangement with the Treasury Department of the Government of Liberia in respect to the collection and payment of poll taxes payable by persons who may be in the employ of the Lessee. But the Lessee shall in no event be held to collect in any year the poll tax for a greater number of employees than the average employed during the year. And it is further agreed that the Lessee shall not be required to collect for the Government from the employees of the Lessee any other poll tax than that provided by the General law of the Republic of Liberia; and that the poll or hut tax or other similar tax levied on Lessee’s employees shall not exceed one dollar gold per head or its equivalent per annum.
(g)
That in the case of war or other emergency declared to be such by the Government the said Government shall be entitled to the use of his lines of communication such as telegraph, telephone and wireless established outside or within the limits of the plantation.

Article III

And the Government doth covenant and agree by these presents that the Lessee paying and yielding the yearly rents above reserved and performing the covenants and Agreements aforesaid on his part stipulated to be performed.

(a)
Shall and may at all times during the term hereby granted peaceably and quietly have hold and enjoy the said demised premises without any let suit trouble or hindrance from the Government or any person or persons whomsoever.
(b)
Shall have the right at his own proper charge and expense to establish lines of communication such as roads and highways outside the limits of the Plantation—provided that such public highways as now exist or are in course of construction through the Plantation be not closed by Lessee but shall remain open to the free and unobstructed use of the public.
(c)
All products of Lessee’s plantations and all machinery, tools, supplies and buildings established, constructed or placed upon the leased land or elsewhere for the operation and development of the Leesee’s land holdings and all leasehold interests, improvements and other property, franchises, right and income shall be free of and exempt from any internal revenue or other tax, charge, excise or impost except the revenue tax provided for in Paragraph (e) Article II.
(d)
All machinery, tools, food and supplies of all kinds purchased and imported by Lessee for the operation and development of the [Page 392] lands held by Lessee under this Agreement shall be exempt from all customs dues or other import duties. But such import duties, if any, as are now required by the “Agreement for refunding loan, 1912”, or any modification thereof, shall be paid by Lessee until such agreement shall be so modified as to reduce or abrogate such duties required on such imports by Lessee; in which event, Lessee shall be required to pay only such import duties as are demanded by such agreement as modified.
(e)
Lines of communication such as telegraph, telephone lines, railroads and canals constructed and established by Lessee outside the confines of the Lessee’s tracts selected hereunder shall during the life of this Agreement be exempted from all taxation so long as they be used only for the purposes of the operations of Lessee upon lands held under this Agreement. In the event that such lines of communication shall be used by Lessee for general commercial purposes to serve others for hire then while so used they shall be subject to taxation under the general laws of Liberia.
(f)
That at the expiration of the one year lease hereby granted the Lessee shall have the right by written notice to the Secretary of State of the Republic of Liberia given on or before the last day of the term of this lease, to renew this lease of the Mount Barclay Rubber Plantation for a period of two, three or five years at the election of the Lessee, provided however that should Lessee exercise his option for renewing the lease of said plantation the rent therefor in that event shall in addition to the other covenants hereinbefore stipulated by him to be observed and performed (except the payment of rent) be Six Thousand Dollars per annum payable annually and every year in advance in gold coin of the United States of the present standard of weight and fineness. And at the end of such renewal term the Lessee shall have the right and option, by similar notice given on or before the last day of the renewal term to renew this lease for another term of ninety-nine years from the last day of such renewal term, such ninety-nine year term to be upon the same terms and conditions in all respects as this lease except that the rent reserved shall be that of the first renewal term, viz, Six Thousand Dollars per annum payable each year in advance in gold coin of the United States of the present standard of weight and fineness. And provided further that in the event of a renewal or renewals of said lease, should the rent above reserved or any part thereof be behind or unpaid or any day of payment whereon the same ought to be paid as aforesaid, or if default should be made in any of the covenants hereinbefore contained on the part of the lessee or be paid kept and performed, and if such default in the payment of rent or otherwise shall continue after ninety days written notice of the existence of such default served [Page 393] by the Government upon the Lessee personally, or upon the President of his corporate successor after assignment of this lease by the Lessee, then it shall be lawful for the Government to cancel this lease and to re-enter into and upon the demised premises, and to again re-possess and enjoy the same. But if the Lessee shall within said period of ninety days after written notice aforesaid make good the default complained of in said notice no right of cancellation shall thereafter exist because of such default.

Article IV

(a)
It is understood and agreed by both parties hereto that in the event the lease of the Mount Barclay Rubber Plantation be renewed for a period of Ninety-nine years, should operations thereon cease for a period of three consecutive years the right of Lessee thereto and therein shall become extinguished and void anything herein to the contrary hereof in anywise notwithstanding.
(b)
The Lessee shall have the right to engage in any operations other than agricultural upon the lands held under this Agreement and to utilize any product or materials of or upon said lands; but any mining or other similar operations shall be subject to the laws of the Republic of Liberia unless the parties hereto shall agree upon special terms therefor.
(c)
It is further agreed that at the expiration of the term of this lease hereinabove provided or any extension thereof or upon the cancellation of this Agreement at any earlier time, such buildings and improvements erected by the Lessee upon the land selected hereunder as shall not have been removed before the expiration or cancellation of the lease or any extension or renewal thereof, shall become the property of the Government of Liberia without charge or condition.
(d)
The rights by this Agreement granted to the Lessee shall not be sold, transferred or otherwise assigned by the Lessee to any person, firm, group or trust without the written consent thereto of the Liberian government previously had; provided however that Lessee is expressly granted the right to assign this contract and grant to a corporation which shall be organized by him for the purpose of acquiring this contract and all the rights herein granted to the Lessee; and upon such assignment to such corporation such corporation shall become vested with each and all of the rights herein granted to the Lessee upon the Agreement by such corporation to assume and become bound by all of the obligations herein imposed upon the Lessee; and thereupon such assignee shall become the sole party to this contract in lieu of the Lessee as fully and to the same extent as if said corporation had been named herein as Lessee.
[Page 394]

In Witness Whereof The parties hereto have hereunto set their hands and seals to this Agreement in duplicate the year and day above written.

For the Government of Liberia
. . . . . . . . . .
For
Harvey S. Firestone

. . . . . . . . . .
  1. This and the two draft agreements which follow were handed to Assistant Secretary of State Harrison by representatives of the Firestone Company on Dec. 18, 1924; see letter of Dec. 22, 1924, from the Secretary of State to Mr. Harvey S. Firestone, p. 403.