882.6176 F 51/87

Mr. Harvey S. Firestone to the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs ( Castle )

Dear Mr. Castle: I am in receipt of a telegram from Mr. Felber, copy of which I enclose.23 I also enclose copies of cables received from Mr. Hines and copies of my replies;24 all of which is for your confidential information.

I note Mr. Wall, who is Acting Minister to Liberia,25 stated that the Cabinet objected to loan negotiation clause being included in the Agreements, but that the Liberian Secretary of State believes authorization for loan agreement on same terms except reducing the number of control officers and modifications on other points necessary by reason of reduced amount, might be entered into as separate document.

I have special reasons why I do not want any change made in the loan agreement. As you realize, to negotiate a new loan agreement would take time and in my appeal for investment of capital it will be very helpful to refer to the loan agreement that was negotiated by the United States Government, but when we actually come to make the loan agreement, the United States Government agreement would simply be a guide and we could eliminate any uneconomical or objectionable features that should be eliminated, and this would only form as a basis on which a loan will be made them. I trust that you will urge upon American representatives in Liberia to do everything in their power to have the Agreement accepted as it is, and at as early a date as possible.

I note that Mr. Wall also asks for statistical information on rubber companies payments to other governments for plantation privileges [Page 418] or export charges in order to determine fairness Firestone modifying terms. I am glad that you have agreed not to send these figures.26 I do not believe it advisable for either Liberian Government or ourselves to send such figures as it will only tend to bring up an argument and place them in the hands of people in Liberia who are not interested in having our Agreements approved by the Liberian Government.

I know you understand the situation and will handle the entire matter to the best interest of all.

I believe it will be interesting to you to know that I sent Mr. Felber to see Secretary Hoover and advise him that if they would modify the Middle East Rubber Survey report and possibly the Philippine report that we would be glad to cooperate with the Department of Commerce Rubber Survey and furnish them reports on surveys we made in the Philippine Islands, Mexico, Central America and Liberia, and endeavor to make the United States Government Rubber Survey the basis on which rubber planting by America was started. After very careful consideration I decided that if Secretary Hoover would give us the right cooperation that it would work out very much better for American interests.

I don’t know if you realize it, but with the restriction on production there is already a shortage of rubber and the price is advancing steadily. Therefore, it is important that we get into active operation at as early a date as possible.

I am having a most delightful vacation here on Miami Beach—the playground of the world. On my return will be in Washington about the 3d of April and I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you.

Yours very truly,

Harvey S. Firestone
  1. Telegram not printed; Mark L. Felber was the Firestone representative at Washington.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Wall was actually clerk in charge of the Legation at Monrovia.
  4. Apparently a misunderstanding on Mr. Firestone’s part, as the figures were sent to the General Receiver of Customs of Liberia on March 28; see p. 419.