Agreement Between the Government of Liberia and Firestone Plantations Company, Signed March 20, 1935
This Agreement made and entered into at the City of Monrovia in the Republic of Liberia this twentieth day of March in the year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Thirty-Five by and between the Government of the Republic of Liberia (hereafter styled the Government), represented by Dixon Brown, Postmaster General, and Firestone Plantations Company, a corporation organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, United States of America, hereinafter styled the Lessee,
First: Article II of the Memorandum
of Agreement between the parties hereto, generally known as
the Planting Agreement, dated October 2, 1926, and ratified
by the Legislature of Liberia by its Act approved November
18, 1926, is hereby amended by striking therefrom the
opening sentence and paragraphs (a),
and (g) and substituting in lieu
thereof the following:
“The Government, in consideration (1) of the establishment of Lessee’s enterprise in the Republic of Liberia, (2) the payment of the revenue tax for which provision is made in paragraph (d) of Article III hereof, (3) the prepayment by Lessee of the sum of Four Hundred Thousand ($400,000) dollars in bonds, at par, of the Liberian Government issued under the Loan Agreement of 1926, or any amendment thereof, as rent in full upon the one hundred and ten thousand (110,000) acres, approximately, of land now held by it under the Planting Agreement and the lease dated March 1, 1935, for the 90-year period beginning October 2, 1935, and ending October 2, 2025, and (4) the [Page 941] further payment of the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand ($250,000) dollars in such bonds, at par, agrees that during the life of this Agreement Lessee shall have and enjoy the following additional rights and exemptions:
- “(a) The Lessee shall be entitled to make such importations as it shall deem necessary for the operation and development of its plantations and to export without restriction the products thereof and freely to transport such exports and imports by land or water within the Republic; and the Lessee, except with respect to documentary stamp taxes of general application not exceeding existing rates as applied to exports and imports, shall be wholly free and exempt from any and all taxes, duties, dues, imposts, excises, license fees, inspection fees, wharfage dues, harbour dues, highway tolls, and all other charges of whatsoever sort, description, or designation now or hereafter authorized, levied, or imposed by the Republic of Liberia or by any entity now or hereafter acting or existing by its authority in the exercise of the inherent or delegated power (1) to tax persons, tangible or intangible property, transactions, or occupations; (2) to lay duties upon exports and imports or either; or (3) to subject the exercise of any lawful activity to the payment of license fees, inspection fees, wharfage or harbour dues, highway tolls or any other imposition whatsoever, whether of the general character of those herein expressly mentioned or otherwise; provided, nevertheless, that the exemptions from import and export duties hereby granted shall be and are restricted to the importation of things and substances for use, directly or indirectly, by the Lessee upon its leased lands in the operation and development thereof and not for sale or barter and to the exportation of the products of Lessee’s leased lands; and provided further that motor vehicles in excess of one hundred and fifty owned and operated at any one time by Lessee shall be subject to the same license fees and taxes as are similar vehicles owned and/or operated by others.
- “(b) The Lessee’s foreign employees, under contract or otherwise, shall be permitted to reside and work in the Republic, and to enter and depart therefrom, and they shall not be subject to the payment of any direct or personal taxes of whatsoever character; provided, nevertheless, that nothing herein contained shall be construed as creating an exemption in favor of such employees with respect to general property taxes or customs duties.
- “(e) The Lessee shall have the right to construct, maintain and operate lines of communication for the purpose of more efficiently operating its plantations and enterprises, such as telegraph lines, telephone lines and radio communication stations upon the lands selected and held under this Agreement and beyond the confines thereof, subject to the provisions of paragraph (h), Article IV of this Agreement; and to the extent necessary for such purposes may use, without the payment of rent for such land, any Government lands not already devoted to some other use. The Lessee shall also be and is hereby granted the right, directly or through any corporate subsidiaries or affiliates, as licensees or assignees, to construct, maintain and operate for its own use and that of its subsidiary or affiliate corporations and for public service a domestic and foreign radio communication system; and to determine the rates to be charged the public for such service; provided, however, that the Government shall be entitled [Page 942] to transmit messages or official business over any radio system established hereunder at rates not exceeding one half of the rates charged the general public; and provided, further, that the rates charged the public for domestic service shall be fixed by agreement with the Government and the rates for foreign service shall not be higher than those charged by any competing radio service. All tax exemptions granted the Lessee under the provisions of paragraph (a) of Article II of this Agreement or any amendment thereof shall be enjoyed by any subsidiary or affiliate corporation operating a radio service under license or assignment by Lessee of the rights granted by this paragraph. The frequencies granted the Lessee by its contract with the Government of the Republic of Liberia dated January 22, 1929, and now in use under assignment by its subsidiary United States-Liberia Radio Corporation, and the frequencies enumerated in the letter of the Firestone Plantations Company to the Postmaster General of the Republic of Liberia, dated February 9, 1934, shall be available to the Lessee and/or its subsidiaries, affiliates, licensees or assignees during the life of this Agreement. The Government in case of war or other public emergency, so declared by the President of Liberia, shall have the right to use the lines of communication to which this paragraph relates.
- “(g) The Lessee shall have the exclusive right to engage in any operations upon the lands held under this Agreement in addition to the agricultural activities herein authorized, including the exclusive right to take by mining or any similar operations the mineral contents of the subsoil of the leased lands; provided, nevertheless, that any precious metals or precious stones so obtained by Lessee shall be subject to a royalty payment to the Government of not to exceed ten per centum (10%) of the value thereof.”
Second: Article III of the said
Memorandum of Agreement of October 2, 1926, is hereby
amended by striking paragraph (d)
therefrom and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
“(d) Lessee shall pay to the Government annually a revenue tax equivalent to one per centum of the value of all rubber and other commercial products of its plantations shipped from Liberia calculated on the price of such products prevailing in the New York market at the time of the arrival of each shipment of such products at its port of destination.”
Third: Article IV of the said
Memorandum of Agreement of October 2, 1926, is hereby
amended by striking out the first eight words of paragraph
(g) and the whole of paragraph
(1) thereof and the substitution in place of said paragraph
(1) of a new paragraph (1) in words as follows:
“(1) The Lessee shall be entitled to establish, maintain and operate an aerial transportation system and necessary landing facilities therefor upon the lands selected and held under this Agreement and beyond the confines thereof; provided, however, that in the event that Lessee shall make use of Government land for the establishment of landing fields rent shall be paid therefor in accordance with paragraph [Page 943] (c) of Article III hereof. In the event that such lines of aerial transportation shall be used by Lessee for general commercial purposes to serve others for hire, then while so used they shall be subject to taxation under the general laws of Liberia.[”]
- Fourth: All bonds deliverable to the Liberian Government under this Agreement shall be surrendered to its Fiscal Agent, the National City Bank of New York within ninety days from the date of the approval of this Agreement by the Legislature of Liberia, and shall thereupon be cancelled by the Fiscal Agent and retired; and no other bonds shall be issued in lieu thereof during the existence of the Loan Agreement of 1926.
- Fifth: This Agreement shall take effect upon its ratification by Act of the Liberian Legislature.
In Witness Whereof the parties hereto have caused this Agreement to be signed the day and year first above written.
R. S. S. Bright
The Government of Liberia
By Dixon Brown
F. C. Fisher
Firestone Plantations Company
By Harvey S. Firestone, Jr.
President of Liberia