Mr. Guy Gary of Shearman & Sterling to the Assistant Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Richardson)
Dear Mr. Richardson: In accordance with our telephone conversation of this morning, I am enclosing to you, herewith, a printed copy of the proposed Loan Agreement between the Republic of Liberia, of the one part, Finance Corporation of America, of the other part, and The National City Bank of New York, as Fiscal Agent.
Also a copy of a letter to Mr. de La Rue,48 transmitting to him, three counterparts of this Agreement, duly executed by the Finance Corporation of America and by The National City Bank of New York, as Fiscal Agent.
I also quote as follows from a personal letter to Mr. de La Rue:
“After myself reviewing the whole subject thoroughly with the clients, I am of the opinion that no mistake has been made in executing the Agreement before sending it forward to you for submission to the Liberian Government. It would be erroneous to infer from this the intention or desire on the part of our clients to force the hand of the Liberian Government by adopting a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. The simple facts are, however, that the Agreement as it stands affords only the essential safeguards, and that the previous discussions, resulting, through the former texts and through the adoption in great part of the changes desired by the Liberian Legislature, have cleared the ground of all the unessentials, so that the stage of discussion and mutual concession has passed, and we have [Page 547] come by natural steps to a form of agreement which both sides can consider as a whole. This being so, and in view of the distance separating us, it is obviously timesaving and proper to execute it here and send it on to you, so that the Liberian Government will have it before them in concrete and definite shape.”
These two letters and the counterparts of the Agreement, signed as above stated, are in the hands of one of Mr. Firestone’s men who is now on the way to Monrovia where he will deliver them to Mr. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. It lies with the latter to deliver them to Mr. de La Rue at the proper time, which depends to some extent, of course, upon the outcome of the negotiations which he is now carrying on with the Liberian Government concerning the planting agreement.
I need not rehearse the reasons for thus signing and sending forward the Loan Agreement in the present form, as they are stated in the two before-mentioned letters to Mr. de La Rue; and I hope that you will also conclude that this is the best way to bring matters to a head, with reasonable ground to hope for a successful outcome. However, as I said to you over the telephone, it might complicate the situation very seriously, and a totally wrong construction might be placed upon our clients’ attitude, if it should become known in Monrovia, before Mr. Firestone, Jr., hands the documents and letters to Mr. de La Rue with the proper explanations, that we have sent forward signed contracts in final form. With this thought in mind, we have not even cabled Mr. Firestone, Jr., that signed contracts are on the way. He will receive his information to this effect when the letters and papers reach him by the hand of the messenger who is carrying them. In view of this, and for the benefit of the whole situation, we and our clients will esteem it a great favor if the Department will refrain from cabling advance information to the Legation at Monrovia, and permit Mr. Firestone, Jr., to be the Legation’s first informant. We intend to cable him to this effect as soon as we receive word by cable that the papers have reached him.
I also enclose a copy of a cable received by the National City Bank from Mr. Bussell49 inquiring whether an officer of the Finance Corporation was coming to Monrovia. With this, I enclose a copy of a cable from the Bank to Mr. Bussell49 which seemed to be as much as could be said under the circumstances.
Yours very truly,