The Chargé in Liberia ( Wharton ) to the Secretary of State

No. 339

Sir: I have the honor, in view of Department’s cable No. 10 of February 26, 5 P.M., to inform the Department that though fully appreciating the importance of developing independent sources of rubber under American control, I have at all times during the negotiations between the Liberian Government and Mr. Firestone and the Finance Corporation of America, refrained from making any communication to the Liberian Government which might be interpreted as participation in negotiations of a business character.

Further, since assuming charge of the affairs of this Legation, not one written statement pertaining either to the planting agreements or the loan has been sent by me to the Liberian Government or any Liberian official. (Department’s cable No. 6 was not transmitted to the Liberian Government in writing—see Legation’s despatch No. 336 of February 24, 1926.)

The Liberian Government has continuously been informed and is fully aware that it is not the policy of the Department of State of the United States or accredited United States Foreign Service Officers to obtain or negotiate concessions for American citizens, although the Department and its agents are always desirous to maintain free and equal opportunity for American enterprises throughout the world.

I wish the Department to understand that I have in no sense diverged from the Department’s fixed policy nor tried to influence in any way the action of the Liberian Government as an official. I simply kept in constant touch with the Liberian Government and suggested my personal feeling, which feeling would, I feel very sure, be shared by the Department and all far-seeing American friends of Liberia.

In order that the Department may further know the Liberian Government’s attitude towards my position, I wish to state that President King in informal conversation told me immediately after the Department’s cable No. 537 that it would be utterly impossible to expedite matters unless Mr. Firestone and the Banking Company had agents for I was a governmental official and forbidden to interfere in negotiations and Mr. de la Rue was a Liberian official and therefore could not act for the Banking Company. I readily acquiesced and this understanding has been clear throughout the entire negotiations.

I have [etc.]

Clifton R. Wharton
  1. Dated Feb. 3, 1926; ante, p. 518.