882.01 Foreign Control/487

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat) of a Conversation Between the Secretary of State and Mr. Everett Sanders15

The Secretary told Mr. Sanders that he was very much disturbed by a message he had received from Lord Cecil in reply to one he had sent him last Sunday. From this message, it appears that Lord Cecil feels that the Firestones have treated the League Committee with grave discourtesy and lack of cooperation. He read him most of Lord Cecil’s telegram. The Secretary explained that he had relied to such an extent on the good record of the Firestones that he had spoken out very strongly on their behalf. Now on examining the record, he had reached the conclusion that the Firestone interests had not in fact been “playing ball” with the League Committee, whose interest on their behalf they were now only too ready to enlist.

As a result, the Secretary wished definitely to assure himself that if and when the legislation in contravention to the contract were withdrawn, then the Firestones would definitely send a representative to Geneva for negotiation. Mr. Sanders replied that he could not imagine that his principal would object to that and would promptly call the Secretary’s request to his attention.

In the meanwhile, the situation was, in the opinion of Mr. Firestone and Mr. Sanders, growing so much worse in Monrovia that they felt that the United States Government should send a ship. The Secretary replied with considerable firmness that he considered sending a ship would be misunderstood from one end of the country to the other and that it would reflect on no one more than on President Hoover. As he saw it, the problem was one which should be handled by international cooperation and not singly. International cooperation had been jeopardized by the League Committee’s feeling toward the Firestones. The first step was for the Firestones to make their peace with the League Committee and he thought this could be facilitated by authorizing us to send them a definite assurance that as soon as the legislation had been repealed, the Firestones would send a negotiator.

Mr. Sanders agreed to transmit this information at once to Akron by telephone.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. Senior member of law firm of Sanders, Childs, Bobb & Wescott.