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of a British firm loaded with salt which was delivered to the warehouse of a German firm.

Some time in April an African clerk in the employ of a Syrian firm was sent to a store operated by a British firm to purchase ten cases of Scotch whiskey. When informed that it was not available, he visited various stores and was finally accommodated at a German store. To his great surprise he noted that the case markings bore the name of one of the British firms. When making the purchase at the German store he was informed it would be possible to get any amount of whiskey he desired.

One of the largest Syrian firms in Liberia, a subsidiary of a British firm, is known to supply Germans with goods with the consent of the British firm in question.

The manager of a German firm in talking with the General Manager of the Firestone Plantations Company last April stated that the stock in his store was valued at eight thousand pounds sterling. Three-fourths of which was British. Most of the stock has been received since the outbreak of war in Europe.

A Liberian of unquestioned veracity, and who is on friendly terms with French nationals in Liberia, informed the American Minister that during the first conversation the French Chargé d'Affaires had shortly after his arrival in April with the German Consul General he had been informed by the German Consul General that British traders had been very helpful in supplying goods to German traders. There are three sources of gasoline and oil supply in Liberia, namely the Firestone Plantations Company, a British firm, and a French firm. The manager of the French firm is openly anti-German. The Firestone Plantations Company has been consistent in its policy not to sell gasoline to other firms or to the public. Nevertheless, one German firm carries for sale a large stock of gasoline and oil. Germans have sufficient supplies of gasoline and oil for their motor cars and trucks. The rumor persists that the gasoline and oil is supplied by British traders.

I desire to refer again to the treatment accorded Mr. William E. Dennis, No. 1 Liberian trader and potential competitor, who, although not on the British blacklist, was for six months unsuccessful in his efforts to induce the British Legation to facilitate the shipment of a large consignment from the United States to Liberia. The excuse given by the representatives of the British Legation was weak and unconvincing. It was obvious that British interests in Liberia were secretly working to embarrass Mr. Dennis as much as and as long as possible. The Dennis consignment was finally received here the middle of June. The Oost-Afrikaansche Compagnie, a Dutch trading company, has met with a similar experience, but not as extended as that to which William E. Dennis & Company was subjected.

When complaint is made to representatives of the British Legation or when informed of these reported charges, they either profess ignorance or, as in the case of the piassava shipment and in the case of the surf boats purchased by Paterson Zochonis & Company, from the Woermann Line, they maintain it was to British interests that transactions were consummated.

As pointed out in Legation's despatch no. 618 of May 20,11 the Vice Consul of the British Legation and the manager of Paterson Zochonis & Company, who is local agent of the Barber-West African Line, married sisters and the latter was instrumental in securing appointment of the former as member of the British Legation. The manager of Paterson Zochonis & Company and the British Chargé d'Affaires are personal friends.

I am pleased to report that the situation has changed for the better and the British Legation is exhibiting a more sympathetic, cooperative attitude in granting navicerts to traders other than British for purposes of importation. However, the policy of the British Legation with respect to granting navicerts to Liberians to export piassava from Liberian ports to the United States has not materially changed. It is reported that approximately five hundred thousand tons of piassava are ready for shipment but cannot be exported because of the inability of Liberians to secure navicerts.

Respectfully yours,


740.00112 European War 1939/3170: Telegram

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

WASHINGTON, August 28, 1941-8 p. m. 51 [bis]. The contents of your despatch 646 of July 10 have been received with great interest. Please inform the Department by telegraph whether any of the trade practices referred to, excluding the matter of navicerts, are still in effect. You should in the future report incidents of this kind by telegraph.


740.00112 European War 1939/3300: Telegram

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

MONROVIA, September 2, 1941-10 a. m. [Received 1 p. m.]

80. Department's No. 51, August 28, 6 [8] p. m. If practices have not been discontinued no incident has recently come to public notice.

" Not printed.

American goods sent parcel post to Liberia by individuals and mail order houses are taken from outward Barber Line vessels at Freetown and held without justification for weeks. The vessels are usually detained for days and packages should be returned by sailing time. Instead, packages are held for next outward Barber Line vessel. The S. S. Zarembo arrived at Monrovia August 12 and was 9 days in Freetown. The next ship due from New York will arrive at Monrovia late in September.

The impression prevails here that British traders are selling some American goods which have been secured under lend-lease provisions and then reexported.

Liberian traders are experiencing much difficulty because of latest American Government export restrictions which, like the navicert, are adversely affecting Liberian customs receipts.


740.00112 European War 1939/3170: Telegram

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

WASHINGTON, September 4, 1941-5 p. m.

50 [bis]. Your 80, September 2, 10 a. m., first paragraph. The Department desires that you ascertain by thorough investigation whether the practices referred to in your despatch no. 646 12 have actually been discontinued. If any such practices still exist, you should submit by mail full particulars, including names of parties involved.18 The Department also desires specific information in support of your statement that the British Legation is refusing to grant export permits for shipments of piassava from Liberia to the United States while granting permits for shipments to England.


740.00112 European War 1939/3600

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Villard)

[WASHINGTON,] October 6, 1941. Mr. Firestone telephoned from New York to say that he had further information in regard to the difficulties of the Oost-Afrikanische Company in accepting a transfer of funds from the Bank of Monrovia for the account of the German firm of Woermann and Company. It

12 Dated July 10, p. 527.

13 In despatch No. 665, September 17, the Minister in Liberia reported that a thorough investigation on this subject was not productive of tangible results (740.00112 European War 1939/3667).

appeared that the British Consul at Monrovia had threatened to blacklist the Oost-Afrikanische Company if it accepted these funds, whereas the Liberian Government had advised the Dutch firm it would lose its license if it failed to accept this business. The Liberian position was based on the Government's neutrality proclamation, which required that no discrimination be shown to the nationals of belligerent countries.

Mr. Firestone further said that a provision of Liberian law dating back to January 26, 1916 provided penalties for violation of Liberian neutrality, or for any act which would subject Liberia to reprisals for such violation. The Firestone Company was therefore disturbed at the possibility that the Government of Liberia would take action against the Bank of Monrovia if it failed to transfer the German funds to the Oost-Afrikanische Company. Moreover, according to Mr. Firestone, the Bank of Monrovia would lose its agency in the Oost-Afrikanische Company in any event unless some action were taken to settle the controversy; if the Government acted under its neutrality proclamation the Oost-Afrikanische Company would lose its license, and if the British Consul carried out his threat the Oost-Afrikanische Company would be placed on the blacklist.

Mr. Firestone said that according to reports from his resident manager, the American Legation was disinclined to take up the matter. Mr. Firestone thought it would be helpful if a telegram could be sent in order that the British Consul might be fully informed as to our interest in the matter. I agreed that this would be helpful and said that the Department would instruct the Legation accordingly.

740.00112 European War 1939/3600: Telegram

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

WASHINGTON, October 6, 1941-9 p. m. 58. Department is informed by Firestone that British Consul intends to blacklist Oost-Afrikanische Company if it accepts transfer of funds from the Bank of Monrovia for account of Woermann Company, and that Liberian Government has ordered Oost-Afrikanische to accept this business under government's neutrality proclamation or lose its license.

You should discuss this matter with your British colleague, reminding him of the Department's understanding that controversies involving Firestone or its subsidiaries in Liberia should be referred through the British Foreign Office to the British Embassy in Washington. The Department is taking up the case with the latter in this instance.


740.00112 European War 1939/3610: Telegram

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

MONROVIA, October 8, 1941-10 p. m. [Received October 9-1: 33 p. m.]

90. British Chargé d'Affaires has recommended Foreign Office to suggest to Netherlands Government that Oost-Afrikaansche Compagnie be instructed to continue as Bank of Monrovia agents. Detailed report by mail.

Shortly before receipt of Department's No. 58, October 6, 9 p. m., British representative had called to discuss the matter and had been reminded of Department's understanding. I maintained there was no difference between Oost-Afrikaansche Compagnie acting as Bank of Monrovia agents and Paterson Zochonis and Company acting as Barber Line agents and delivering goods consigned to German traders.

Evidently British Chargé d'Affaires now realizes that he has unnecessarily provoked another controversy and affects air of injured innocence.

During the conversation British Chargé d'Affaires suggested we recommend to our Governments that Liberia be requested to expel all German nationals.



811.34582/5: Telegram

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

WASHINGTON, June 21, 1941-3 p.m. 37. Your mail despatch 544, November 14, 1940 14 and your telegram no. 14, March 15, 1939.15 Please seek an immediate interview with President Barclay 16 and, referring to earlier discussions concerning the defense of Liberia, inform him that this Government is now prepared to give immediate and favorable consideration to any request he may make for the establishment of an American air base in Liberia. Explain that this suggestion is put forward in the light of the traditional relations of close friendship between the United States and Liberia which have existed for more than one hundred years. Add that such a base, if established, would of course be with full recognition on the part of the United States of the sovereign and independent

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