The Minister in Liberia (Francis) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 5.]
Sir: I have the honor to confirm this Mission’s cablegram No. 8, February 29, 11 A.M., in response to Department’s cablegram No. 6, February 25, 5 P.M.,40 in the matter of the establishment of a transatlantic wireless station in Liberia by the Firestone Plantations Company, and to report that Mr. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., had a conference on that subject, February 22, 1928, with a Commission appointed by the Liberian Government consisting of Mr. Edwin Barclay, Secretary of State, Mr. Louis A. Grimes, Attorney General and Mr. Samuel A. Ross, Postmaster General. I am informed that at this conference a tentative verbal agreement was reached and it was understood that Mr. Firestone would write a letter to Postmaster General Ross formally setting forth his desires in accordance with that agreement. On the same day (February 22) and subsequent to the conference Mr. Firestone wrote Postmaster General Ross stating that he desired to establish wireless stations at various locations on his developments in Liberia for communication between those stations and the head office at Akron to facilitate the operation of his business, and requesting that the following wave-lengths be allocated to his Company for that purpose:
On February 25, Postmaster General Ross replied to Mr. Firestone saying, “you are here-by advised that the Government allocates the following wave-lengths to your company, namely:
subject, however, to the ‘Act Regulating the Operation of Radio or Wireless, Telegraph, Telephone or Broadcasting Stations in the Republic of Liberia’, and under the following conditions: [Page 259]
- Messages to be transmitted shall be only such as refer to the business of the company and not to the private affairs of their employees;
- The Government reserves to itself the right to take over and use the station, or to suspend the operation of same in case of war or other public emergency;
- The trans-Oceanic communication shall be confined solely to the station established at the headquarters of the Company in Monrovia;
- The Government reserves to itself the right unconditionally to close the station in the event of any violations of the ‘Act Regulating the Operation of Radio or Wireless Telegraph, Telephone or Broadcasting Stations in the Republic of Liberia’.”
Attached to this letter was a copy of the Radio Act passed on the last day of the last session of the Legislature which adjourned February 17, 1928.
On February 29, Mr. Firestone replied to Postmaster General Ross’ letter saying:
“We will commence as soon as possible to determine whether these wave-lengths are suitable for the above purpose. If it should be found after experimentation that certain other wave-lengths are more practical and satisfactory for successful communication, we understand that you will allocate to us such wave-lengths, providing no interference with the Liberian Government’s Wireless Station would result by so doing.
In Paragraph (c) on page two of your letter, you mention ‘the Station established at the headquarters of the Company in Monrovia’. We understand that by ‘Monrovia’ you mean ‘Monrovia District’ and that the station referred to is the station we are constructing at our Du River Development.”
Mr. Firestone says he does not understand why the Government seeks to restrict him to the four wave-lengths named and to but one station; that he will try the wave-lengths allocated at the station at the Du Plantation and if they prove satisfactory he will be content, but if not he will request such further and sufficient wave-lengths as are necessary for successful operation.41
The station call suggested by Mr. Firestone is “ELFP”.
For the Department’s information copies in duplicate of the following papers are enclosed:42
Mr. Firestone’s letter of February 22, 1928, to Postmaster General Ross; Postmaster General Ross’ letter of February 25, 1928, to Mr. Firestone, with copies of the Radio Act referred to therein, and [Page 260]Mr. Firestone’s letter to Postmaster General Ross of February 29, 1928.
I have [etc.]
- Neither printed.↩
- The Minister in Liberia reported in his despatch No. 54, Mar. 22, 1928 (file No. 882.6176 F 51/262), that the Firestone wireless station on the Du plantation had been established and that he had been informed that the first message was transmitted to Akron on March 17.↩
- Enclosures not printed, except for the radio act printed infra.↩