882.6176 F 51/237½

Mr. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., to Mr. Harvey S. Firestone15

Dear Sir: I hand you herewith copy of executed Agreement Number One16 and Agreement Number Two17 between the Government of the Republic of Liberia and Firestone Plantations Company. By Agreement Number One we have secured a 99 year lease on Mount [Page 148]Barclay Plantation and by Agreement Number Two we have secured a 99 year lease on a concession for one million acres on special terms and conditions. Agreement Number Two is termed our Planting Agreement.

The history of the negotiations of this Planting Agreement dates back to the trip which W. D. Hines took with Messrs. Ross, Cheek, and Wierman, during the first half of 1924. A proposed Agreement was drawn up between the Liberian Government and Mr. Hines in June, 192419 and this was brought back to Akron by Mr. Hines on July 16, 1924.

The Agreement was rewritten by Mr. A. C. Miller to conform to our ideas regarding what it should contain. In this form it was signed by you on January 12, 1925,20 and then taken to Liberia by Mr. Hines. A series of negotiations over certain points followed by cable with Akron, but were unsuccessful and Mr. Hines again returned to Akron on June 30, 1925.

On August 5, 1925, we received through the American State Department a revised Agreement written by Liberia and signed by Edwin Barclay on June 27, 1925.21 Meanwhile, President King of Liberia sent Secretary of State Edwin Barclay, to the United States to negotiate the terms of the Loan Agreement in addition to completing and signing the Planting Agreement. Secretary Barclay arrived in the United States on August 11 [12], 1925.

The Planting Agreement as signed by Secretary Barclay on June 27, 1925, was not satisfactory to us and, in anticipation of personal negotiations with Mr. Barclay in this country, Mr. A. C. Miller revised it on August 25, 1925, to incorporate our requirements.22

As a result of the conference with Secretary Barclay on August 27, 1925, certain alterations were incorporated in the draft of August 25, 1925. Mr. Barclay cabled these changes to Liberia. On September 16, 1925, a completed Planting Agreement was signed in Colonel Crews’ office, of Shearman and Sterling, by you and Secretary Barclay.23 Agreement Number One was redrafted to conform to the Planting Agreement and signed.24 On January 30, 1926, the Planting Agreement was ratified by the Liberian Legislature as signed by Secretary Barclay on September 16, 1925, but, in ratifying it, the Legislature made certain changes.25

The Planting Agreement as formally ratified was unsatisfactory to us and subsequent negotiations during February and March, 1926, [Page 149]were not successful in getting matters straightened out. Mr. Hines left for Liberia the middle of March, 1926, and Mr. de la Rue arrived here in April, 1926, with a letter of authority from the Liberian Government, dated March 10, 1926,26 to discuss the terms of the Planting Agreement with us.

Mr. de la Rue remained until July, but we did not attempt to arrive at a final arrangement with him, as we felt it would be better to hold the matter open until my arrival in Liberia in September, 1926.

Immediately upon my arrival in Liberia on September 12, 1926, I started negotiations with President King with a view to arriving at a mutually acceptable Planting Agreement. I kept you advised by cable regarding the progress of the negotiations and likewise obtained from you instructions and advice. On October 16, 1926, I initialed a Planting Agreement which was mutually acceptable to the Liberian Government and ourselves.

This Agreement, was ratified by the Liberian Legislature on November 10, 1926,26a and I brought back with me two copies executed by Secretary of State Edwin Barclay for Liberia. Both copies were executed for the Firestone Plantations Company by you at Miami Beach, Florida, on March 4, 1927, and I transmitted one copy to Secretary Barclay on March 22nd, 1927.

The American State Department, in a letter to Firestone Plantations Company, dated April 12, 1927, over signature of Assistant Secretary of State, Wm. R. Castle, Jr., has agreed to assume the functions allotted to it by this Agreement.

The history of Agreement Number One closely follows that of the Planting Agreement. It stands as signed by Secretary Barclay on September 16 [17], 1925,27 subject to the ratification by the Liberian Legislature which it received on January 30, 1926,28 and in consistency with Agreement Number Two. The attached letter from Secretary of State Barclay to Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., dated December 6, 1926, sets this out in full.29

Agreement Number Three, signed in New York on September 16, 1925,30 and approved by the Legislature of Liberia on January 30, 1926,28 provided the detailed arrangements by which we would build a harbor at Monrovia for the Liberian Government. As subsequently we have abandoned this idea, this Agreement is not longer of any importance and becomes obsolete.

Respectfully submitted,

Harvey S. Firestone, Jr.
  1. Circumstances under which this copy was received by the Department not known.
  2. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, p. 450, and modifications in Liberian Legislature’s act of ratification, ibid., 1926, vol. ii, p. 516.
  3. Ibid., 1926, vol. ii, p. 561.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, p. 373.
  5. Ibid., p. 394.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Draft not printed.
  8. Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, p. 454.
  9. Ibid., p. 450.
  10. For text of the act of ratification, see ibid., 1926, vol. ii, p. 516.
  11. Not printed; for De la Rue’s instructions, see ibid., p. 539.
  12. For text of the agreement and the act of ratification, see ibid., p. 561.
  13. Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, p. 450.
  14. Ibid., 1926, vol. ii, p. 516.
  15. Not found with file copy of this letter.
  16. Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, p. 461.
  17. Ibid., 1926, vol. ii, p. 516.