882.01 Foreign Control/476: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Mellon) to the Secretary of State

17. Lord Cecil sends following message in reply to your telegram 17, January 22, 7 p.m.:

“Thank you very much indeed for your telegram of the 22nd. My opinion has not altered as to the great desirability of American collaboration. With regard to the difficulties which have now arisen, I shall be anxious to do anything I can to help but the situation for the League Committee has been rendered very difficult by the attitude which the Firestone interests have adopted towards it. I cannot help saying that they have treated it with grave discourtesy and have-left it entirely in the dark as to what is their real attitude towards the League attempt to come to the assistance of Liberia and prevent the recurrence of the terrible scandals which existed under the administration of ex-President King, who is, I understand, now one of the advisers of the Firestone Corporation. Not once nor twice have hopes been held out to the Committee that the Firestone Corporation would come and assist it with information and advice, and then, when it came to the point, they have declined to be present, even though we were credibly informed that important representatives of the corporation were actually in Paris. I am afraid that several members of the Committee have arrived at the [Page 885] conclusion that the object of the Firestone Corporation was, by insisting on the rigid execution of what was, after all, a very onerous agreement, to drive the Liberian Government into such straits that they would be at the mercy of the corporation. It is difficult to state fully the case as I see it in a telegram but if you will allow me to do so I will write to you. I feel as strongly as you can possibly do the great importance of avoiding anything like a misunderstanding between the American Government and the League Committee. Cecil.”

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