882.74/62

The Minister in Liberia (Francis) to the Secretary of State

No. 113
Diplomatic

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge Department’s cable No. 18, July 30, 2 [3] P.M.; Department’s cable No. 20, August 7, 2 P.M.; Department’s cable No. 25, August 17, 2 P.M., and to confirm this [Page 273]Mission’s cable No. 23, 4 P.M., August 3; cable No. 27, August 11, 2 P.M.,54 and cable No. 29, 9 A.M., August 15, 1928, concerning the issuance of public utility license to Firestone Plantations Company and the Radio Corporation of America for transmission of commercial business between the United States and the Republic of Liberia.

The Department’s attention is respectfully referred to this Mission’s despatch (Diplomatic) No. 103, August 2, 1928.55

In an interview with the President on the 14th instant in which the writer called His Excellency’s attention to the apparent inconsistency between his memorandum to the writer and the statement made by His Excellency to Mr. Hines, the President informed the writer that the Liberian Government’s position was set forth in the wireless message which he sent to Mr. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., under date of July 30, 1928, to which Mr. Firestone replied on August 3. The writer asked the President if he might be permitted to so advise his Department of State, to which the President replied in the affirmative stating that he would furnish copies of his message to Mr. Firestone and Mr. Firestone’s reply. Upon that authority this Mission’s cable No. 29, 9 A.M., August 15, was based.

In accordance with his promise the President, under date of August 16, wrote this office enclosing copy of the two messages referred to above, and in addition thereto a copy of a letter from Postmaster General Ross, June 15, 1928, to Mr. Hines, stating the Government’s original position in response to the Plantation Company’s request for public utility license.56

Inasmuch as the terms of the Postmaster General’s letter of June 15, were modified and amended by a letter from Mr. Hines in answer thereto on June 21,57 and the modifications and amendments were discussed and in substance accepted by the Liberian Government and such amendments and modifications form the actual basis upon which the proposed agreement was to be executed, I acknowledged receipt of the President’s letter of August 16 and asked him for a copy of Mr. Hines’ letter of June 21.58

On receipt of Department’s cable No. 25, August 17, 2 P.M., announcing that the Radio Commission of America had granted the double line of direct public service radio communication with Liberia, desired by the Liberian Government, I immediately advised President [Page 274]King, who on August 20,59 in reply to my note of the 18th,60 said “I cannot too strongly express to your Excellency my high appreciation of the amicable understanding reached with the Federal Radio Commission which now insures Transatlantic communication between Liberia and the United States, in the way and manner desired by the Liberian Government”.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Under date of August 20 the Radio Corporation of America cabled President King61 the result of the hearing before the Federal Radio Commission stating that through the good offices of the American Department of State the Corporation had received license; thanking the President and stating that the Corporation was ready to engage in commercial business with Liberia as soon as Liberia was able to do so. The President replied to this cable on the same day and a copy of his reply is enclosed.

A copy of Mr. Hines’ letter of June 21, 1928, is also enclosed.

I have [etc.]

W. T. Francis
[Enclosure 1]

President King of Liberia to the American Minister (Francis)

691/241

Dear Minister Francis: In keeping with my promise at our last interview, I have the honour to transmit [to] you herewith copies of correspondence and cablegrams exchanged between the Liberian Government and the Firestone Plantations Company, relative to granting the latter a public Utility License for operating a Radio Station between the United States and Liberia.

With due regards [etc.]

C. D. B. King
[Subenclosure 1]

The Liberian Postmaster General (Ross) to Mr. W. D. Hines

No. 651/37/28D

Sir: With reference to your letter of the 11th instant, to His Excellency, the President, on the subject of the Radio Station of the Firestone Plantations Company, as a public utility,62 I have the honour to forward you the following as a basis of the decision of the Cabinet, on the matter, subject however, to Legislative approval.

(a)
That the Firestone radio station be listed as a subsidiary Government Station.
(b)
That all messages for transmission via Firestone Radio shall [Page 275]be handed in at the Government radio Station Monrovia where it shall be endorsed for transmission via Firestone station.
(c)
All public messages, including Government messages which may be presented at the Firestone Station at Akron, Ohio, U. S. A. shall be forwarded by that station directly to the Liberian Government Station at Monrovia, unless, at the time of forwarding such messages, the Government Station is not in condition for receiving them.
(d)
The total tolls collected from messages transmitted through Firestone Station shall be paid to the Government.
(e)
This Agreement may be terminated by either party thereto after six month[s’] notice previously given to the other party.

If you are in accord with the points above mentioned, I shall be pleased to have you nominate a day for an interview with me on the matter, in order that appropriate agreement on the subject matter might be entered into by the respective parties.

I have [etc.]

S. A. Ross
[Subenclosure 2—Telegram]

Mr. H. S. Firestone, Jr., to President King of Liberia

Your message stating the position of the Liberian Government on Radio communication between the United States and Liberia63 has been received and we greatly appreciate the Liberian Government’s consideration in agreeing to grant us a Public Service License. In accordance with your desire in the matter we will be pleased to bring your Government’s position regarding radio as expressed in your message to the attention of the Federal Radio Commission. We feel sure that you appreciate our position as regards the entire situation and our desire to cooperate with your Government in attaining the objects sought. As evidence of this we would be agreeable if the Federal Radio Commission decided to grant an additional service to Liberia to share the wavelength already granted to us with the RCA although we are already required to share this wavelength with a South American System by allowing RCA one third time on our wavelength.

However should the Federal Radio Commission decide otherwise we respectfully offer the service of our Station at Akron as the contact point for communication between the Liberian Government Station and the United States and in such case you may be assured we could and would render the best possible service to the Liberian Government in its Radio Communication.

H. S. Firestone Jr.
[Page 276]
[Enclosure 2]

Mr. W. D. Hines to the Liberian Postmaster General (Ross)

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 15, 192864 and desire to express our appreciation of the Government’s consideration of our request for a radio public utility license. In reply thereto I beg to submit for your consideration some modifications to your proposed basis of understanding that would assist us to meet the difficulties with which we are confronted.

(a)
That the public service rendered by the Firestone radio stations be listed as supplementary to the Government’s public service.
(b)
That copies of all public service messages received at the Firestone radio station on the Du for transmission to America shall be delivered to the Government radio station immediately after their receipt at the Du station.
(c)
That all public service messages accepted at the Firestone radio station at Akron, Ohio, U. S. A. for transmission to Liberia shall be sent direct to the Government station at Monrovia, unless at the time such messages are accepted at Akron, the Government station is unable to receive them, in which case such messages shall be routed through the Firestone radio station on the Du.
(d)
The net revenue accruing from the transmission of public service messages shall be divided upon a basis of 75 percent to the Government and 25 percent to the Firestone radio stations. Provided, however, that if the Government is unable to transmit public service messages and the Firestone radio stations are therefore required to handle the full public service traffic between Liberia and America for a period of more than one month, then the same terms as extended to any other radio public service corporation by the Government shall become effective between the two parties hereto.
(e)
That this agreement may be terminated by either party whenever it is no longer necessary for the Firestone radio stations to remain public utilities in order to maintain proper radio communications with Liberia.
(f)
That this agreement is considered supplementary to and in no way affects the previous arrangement entered into between the Government and the Firestone Company providing for the free transmission by radio of messages relating to its own private business and operations.

I beg permission to explain the reasons for the suggested qualifications. In respect to the tolls we consider it necessary to receive some compensation for public service rendered in order to qualify as a public utility. We understand that the proposed radio arrangement with us in no way conflicts with your present public service traffic agreement and that the Government may retain the full amount (75 percent) of revenue allocated in Paragraph (d) of these proposals [Page 277]as Paragraph 2 of the Governments present public service traffic agreement specifically implies that each party thereto has the right and privilege of making other radio connections and agreements as it refers to messages “within its control” only and messages not “routed otherwise by the sender”.

In view of the extremely small portion of the tolls which we retain and the cooperative spirit in which our request has been met, we assume that the Government has no intention of taking advantage of the position this agreement places us in in case we are required at any future time to carry all commercial traffic. Without the modification relating thereto we would bind ourselves to carry all commercial traffic whenever called upon to do so without adequate compensation for same.

In respect to the substitution of the word supplementary for subsidiary, I understand it is not the Government’s intention to claim any proprietory interest in the property of the Firestone radio stations but that the Government only seeks to have our public service conform to its policy of providing additional communication facilities for the benefit of the public.

As to the termination clause I beg permission to ask consideration of this modification on the basis that in reality the provision for six months’ notice only gives us public service rights for that specific period of time. In view of the large investments required to establish and maintain radio stations and their importance to our primary object of rubber development here, reasonable assurance of continued operation without interruption are necessary from an economic as well as efficiency standpoint.

Again expressing our thanks for the Government’s consideration and with expressions of respect and esteem,

I have [etc.]

W. D. Hines
[Enclosure 3]

The American Minister (Francis) to President King of Liberia

My Dear Mr. President: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that I am this day advised that at the hearing of the Federal Radio Commission held August 17, both Mr. Firestone and the Department presented and supported the views indicated in your telegram to Mr. Firestone of July 30;65 and that the Commission has granted the radio communication with Liberia, thus making possible the establishment of the double line of direct public service radio communications between Liberia and the United States desired by the Liberian Government.

I am [etc.]

W. T. Francis
[Page 278]
[Enclosure 4]

President King of Liberia to the American Minister (Francis)

707/241

My Dear Minister Francis: I have the honour to thank you very much for the kind information conveyed by your letter of the 18th instant,66 informing me that at a hearing of the Federal Radio Commission held on August 17th 1928, the Commission granted radio communication with Liberia.

I cannot too strongly express to Your Excellency my high appreciation of the amicable understanding reached with the Federal Radio Commission which now insures transatlantic communication between Liberia and the United States, in the way and manner desired by the Liberian Government.

With due regards [etc.]

C. D. B. King
[Enclosure 5—Telegram 1]

President King of Liberia to the Radio Corporation of America

Received your radio August 20th. Thanks for message. Appreciate amicable understanding with the Federal Radio Commission which insures Transatlantic radio communication between Liberia and the United States.

King
  1. Cable No. 27 not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. See enclosure 1, infra, and two subenclosures. For information concerning the cable of July 30 which was the third subenclosure, and which is not printed, see footnote 46, p. 268.
  4. See enclosure 2, infra.
  5. Minister’s note dated August 18, not printed.
  6. See enclosure 4, infra.
  7. See enclosure 3, infra.
  8. No copy enclosed with this despatch.
  9. Copy not attached to file copy of this letter.
  10. See footnote 46, p. 268.
  11. Ante, p. 274.
  12. See footnote 46, p. 268.
  13. Supra.