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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Liberia,   pp. 785-857 PDF (27.0 MB)

Page 832

  While there appears to be little likelihood that serious consideration
will be given any gesture made by the Japanese Government, the
Secretary of the Treasury maintains a distinctly favorable attitude
toward the proposal submitted by the manager of the Holland Mining
Syndicate on behalf of the company he represents, whose stockholders
are said to be principally of his (Dutch) nationality.
  In January there arrived in Monrovia from Europe the mineral-
ogist of the Holland Syndicate who discovered iron deposits while
searching for diamond in Liberia. He was accompanied by a Ger-
man mineralogist sent by the Dutch interests seeking the concession
to verify the claims that the iron deposits are of such high quality as
to warrant exploitation on a large scale. The work of assaying is
now in progress.
  The manager of the Holland Mining Syndicate recently conferred
with the Firestone legal representative from the United States tem-
porarily in Liberia, to ascertain what would be the attitude of the
Firestone Company toward the mining of iron in the Republic by
European capital, and if the building of a port and railroad would be
regarded as running counter to the Loan Agreement.53
  The legal representative was in no position to make a commitment
to the manager of the Holland Mining Syndicate as to Firestone's
position, and promised to take up the matter in detail with his prin-
cipals upon his return to Akron, Ohio.
  One proposal provides that the Liberian Government reimburse the
company for the construction of harbors and railroad out of the royal-
ties received. The consensus is that such an arrangement conflicts with
the temporary Loan Agreement which provides that two-thirds of all
Government revenues above $450,000 shall be applied toward amor-
tization. This tentative arrangement expires at the end of 1937; how-
ever, the terms in the Loan Agreement committing the Government
to meet payments on its external debts through assessed revenues will
continue in force.
  Another proposal of the Dutch company, in the hope of circum-
venting the Loan Agreement, is that there be no money transactions
conducted between the Liberian Government and the company dur-
ing the life of the lease; that is to say, no royalties or pecuniary emolu-
ments be received whatsoever by the lessor from the lessee, with the
understanding that the lessor ultimately come in possession of the
harbor and railroad. In the interim, the economic benefits to be de-
rived by Liberia from the project would be in wages to native labor
and customs revenues.
  In conversation with the manager of the Holland Mining Syndi-
cate, who is officiating in the role of a promoter, and well known for
3 Agreement between Liberia and the Finance Corporation of America, signed
March 16, 1935; Foreign Relation8, 1935, vol. i, p. 925.

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