Foreign Relations 7

71st Congress,
3d Session
House Document
No. 825, Vol. III

Papers Relating to the
Foreign Relations
of the
United States
(In Three Volumes)
Volume III
United States
Government Printing Office Washington: 1945



  Seventhly. In the event of the cession, sale, lease or transfer of the in question of the islands in question to any third party, the United States Government undertakes to use its good offices in commending to the favorable consideration of such third Party the desires expressed by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the British North Borneo Company, as set out in the preceding articles of the present arrangement.

  In reply to the inquiry made on behalf of Your Excellency’s Government in the last paragraph of your note of today’s date, I take pleasure in informing you that the Government of the United States of America adheres to the terms of the arrangement above described, and inassuring you that your note under acknowledgment is considered by Government of the United States of America as sufficient acceptance of the arrangement on the part of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.

Accept [etc.] Henry L. Stimpson



The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Secretary of State

No. 52 WASHINGTON, January 31, 1929.

Sir: I have the honour to inform you that His Majesty’s Government have recently been considering the question of revising, subject to the consent of the United States Government, articles 2, 3 and 9 of Treaty of 1833 between the United States and Muscat, insofar as these articles are obsolete and no longer consonant with the proper administration of Zanzibar as a British Protectorate on modern lines. I have now received instructions from His Majesty’s Acting Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to draw your attention to the previous correspondence between His Majesty’s Government and the States Government on the subject and to enquire whether I assume that your Government are in principle prepared to fall in with the wishes of His Majesty’s Government in regard to the modifications of the articles in question, as set forth in the concluding paragraphs of this note.

  2. It will be remembered that under the terms of the loan made to in 1913 (12) His Majesty’s Government, the French and German

(11) For text of treaty, see Miller, Treaties, vol. 3, p. 789.
(12) Loan agreement signed March 7, 1912, Foreign Relations, 1912, p. 671; proclaimed in force by the Liberian President on November 26, 1912, ibid., p. 693.



Governments all acquired the right of nominating a Receiver of Liberian Customs: these three officers functioned under a Receiver General selected by the United States Government. In 1918 Liberia to the United States Government for a further loan,(13) and as a preliminary to considering this request, the United States Government enquired whether His Majesty’s Government would consent to withdraw the British Receiver, if the loan were made.(14) In a note of September 13th, 1919, to the United States Ambassador in London(15) Lord Curzon agreed to this, subject to certain stipulations considered necessary to safeguard British interests in Liberia. The note concluded:
  “In the course of discussions upon this question between the United States and British Peace Delegations at Paris, the latter intimated that this Government would be glad if possible to effect with the United States a simultaneous settlement of certain questions relating to the treaty rights of United States citizens at Zanzibar under the United States-Muscat Treaty of 1833.
  “Negotiations to this end are now in progress at Washington, and I have no reason to doubt but that they will be brought to an early and satisfactory conclusion.”

  3. The history of the negotiations in question at Washington briefly as follows:—
 In a note of July 29th, 1919, His Majesty’s Charge’d' Affaires at Washington represented to the United States Government (16) that United States citizens were claiming immunity from the payment of municipal taxes under article VI of the Convention of 1833, and, by so doing, were hampering the municipality of ZanZibar in the lighting and sanitation of the city. He enquired whether the United States would agree to cancel article VI of the treaty. To this the United States Government replied on August 12th, 1919,(17) that as long ago as 1914 they had instructed the United States Consul that they did not claim exemption for United States citizens from the payment of a “regular and reasonable tax upon real estate”. They did not, therefore, regard it as necessary to cancel article VI.
  4. In a note dated September 25th, 1919,(17) Mr. Lindsay on instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, informed the United States Government that His Majesty’s Government were desirous of securing the amendment of article 2 of the Treaty, so as to give the Government of Zanzibar a free hand to prohibit the importation of undesirable goods into the Protectorate and also the abrogation of the personal immunity enjoyed by United

(13) See note from the Liberian Secretary of State, January 11, 1918, Foreign Relations, 1918, p. 510.16
(14) Ibid., p. 545.
(15) Ibid., 1919, vol. II, p. 484.
(16) Note not printed; see ibid., p. 486, footnote 31.
(17) Not printed.



States Consular Officers under article 9 of the Treaty and reaffirmed article 2 of the Treaty of 1886 between the United States and Zanzabar.(18) He made it clear at the same time that the suggestion of His Majesty’s Government was not put forward on account of any objection on their part to the past conduct of any United States Consul, but was merely designed to remove the special exemption was superfluous under the present settled administration.   5. In a note dated March 3, 1920,(19) the State Department replied that they would carefully consider any proposals which His Majesty’s Government might desire to submit.
  6. The projected United States loan to Liberia, however, never materialised (20) and no further progress was made at the time with the above mentioned proposals of His Majesty’s Government in regard United States-Muscat Treaty.
  7. In 1925 a United States company, the Firestone Rubber Corporation, proposed to the Liberian Government to redeem Liberia’s outstanding indebtedness and make a further loan to the Government in return for concessions for growing rubber.(21) One of the conditions of this loan was that a nominee of the United States should be placed in sole control of Liberian Customs. When these proposals became to His Majesty’s Government, Mr. Chilton was instructed to inform the United States Government that so long as His Majesty’s Government refrained from exercising their right of appointing a British Receiver of Liberian Customs, they naturally expected that conditions placed before the United States Ambassador in Lord Curzon’s note of the 13th September, 1919, would be observed.
  8. In the note which he consequently addressed to the State Department on October 7th, 1925,(22) Mr. Chilton drew attention to Lord Curzon’s note defining the terms on which His Majesty’s Government had agreed to the withdrawal of the British Receiver. While drawing thus general attention to these terms, Mr. Chilton did not at the time think fit to make any more definite reference to Zanzibar, the position being that, for the reasons above explained, no definite arrangement in regard to Zanzibar had ever been reached.
  9. The proposals made by the Firestone Company in 1925 were adopted by Liberia at the end of 1926.(23)
  10. In pursuance of the understanding reached between the two governments in 1919, His Majesty’s Government have refrained in the past from re-appointing the British Receiver of Liberian Customs,

(18) Treaty as to duties on liquors and consular powers, signed at Zanzibar, July 3, 1886;William M. Malloy (ed.), Treaties, Conventions, etc., Between the United States of America and Other Powers, 1776--1909 (Washington, Government Printing Office 1910), vol. n, p. 1899.
(19) Not printed
(20) See Foreign Relations 1922, vol. xx, pp. 606 ff.
(21) See ibid., 1925, vol. n, pp. 367 ff
(22) Ibid., p. 484.
(23) Ibid.,1926, vol. n, p. 574.

Informer's Comment:
This Firestone deal is seen later in the Liberia pages and is shown here because of government-controlled big business involvement in these convention dealings. However, the States are forbidden, even if it affects them, and the Americans cannot deal with the countries.