A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Morocco


Morocco formally recognized the United States by signing a treaty of peace and friendship in 1786. Despite a longstanding consular presence, permanent diplomatic relations did not begin until 1905. Morocco entered into the status of a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, and normal diplomatic relations were resumed after U.S. recognition of Moroccan independence in 1956.

Modern Flag of Morocco


Moroccan Recognition of the United States, 1786.

Morocco recognized the United States on June 23, 1786, when a treaty of peace and friendship was signed by U.S. Minister Thomas Barclay and Sidi Muhammad, Sultan of Morocco, at Marrakech.

Morocco Under French and Spanish Control, 1912-1956.

In 1912, Morocco became a French protectorate. Certain portions of Morocco also came under Spanish control, including the province of Tangier. However, the United States did not recognize the French and Spanish protectorates until October 20, 1917, when Secretary of State Robert Lansing sent a letter formally acknowledging the protectorate to Jean Jules Jusserand, French Ambassador to the United States.

U.S. Recognition of Moroccan Independence, 1956.

The United States recognized Moroccan independence from French sovereignty on March 7, 1956, in a statement of congratulations regarding the Franco-Moroccan declaration of March 2, wherein France had recognized Moroccan independence.

Consular Presence

U.S. Consul Appointed to Morocco, 1797.

James Simpson was appointed the first U.S. consul, and arrived on December 7, 1797, at Tangier to assume his duties and establish the U.S. consulate. Simpson served for over twenty years, until his death on March 8, 1820. In 1821, as a gift to the United States, Sultan Mawlay Suleiman gave a building for the consulate’s use, which was the first property abroad owned by the United States. The building is now the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM).

Below are dates for the earliest and latest extant dates of U.S. consulates in Morocco. The only Consulate currently in operation is in Casablanca.

  • Tangier (Tanger, Tangiers) earliest date March 31, 1791, closed early 1989. Tangier, which had been an international city (but still technically part of Morocco) was fully integrated into Morocco on October 29, 1956.
  • Essaouira (Mogador) earliest date February, 7, 1817, latest open date December 15, 1920
  • Larache and Asilah (Laraish, Laraiche, Al-Araish, El-Araish/ Arsila, Arsila, Arseila, Arzila) earliest date: May 11, 1852 latest date: September 25, 1896
  • Tétouan (Tetuan) earliest date: May 11, 1852 latest date: June 14, 1896
  • Casablanca (Casa Blanca, Dar El-Beïda, Anfa) earliest date: May 13, 1878 latest date: Present (as of August 25, 2008)
  • Rabat (Ribāt, Salé, Sali, Sallee) earliest date: June 25, 1881. Became Embassy June 11, 1956. latest date: Present
  • Safi (Saffi) earliest date: June 25, 1881 latest date: November 19, 1890
  • El Jadida (Mazagan, Magazan) earliest date: July 28, 1882 latest date: November 5, 1896

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the American Legation at Tangier, 1905.

Diplomatic relations were established on March 8, 1905, when the American consulate at Tangier was elevated to the status of a legation, and Samuel Gummere was named American Minister Plenipotentiary, with a letter of credence dated March 21. Gummere presented his credentials on September 29, 1906.

Morocco under French and Spanish Control, 1912-1956.

The United States did not initially recognize the French and Spanish protectorate over Morocco which was formally established in 1912. However, upon U.S. entry into the First World War, the U.S. Government issued a statement recognizing the protectorate over Morocco on October 20, 1917, whereupon the U.S. Minister at Tangier was downgraded to the status of Diplomatic Agent.

Diplomatic Relations Reestablished and Establishment of American Embassy, 1956.

After the recognition of Moroccan independence, the post of diplomatic agent was again raised, this time to the level of ambassador, and the U.S. embassy was established at the capital of Rabat on Jun 11, 1956, with William J. Porter as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim; upon its establishment Legation Tangier was changed in status to a Consulate General. On October 6, 1956, Cavendish Cannon presented his credentials as the first U.S. ambassador to Morocco. On September 5, 1956, Dr. El Mehdi Mohammed Ben Aboud of Morocco presented his credentials to U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower.


  • Department of State Country Fact Sheet: Morocco
  • Department of State Country Information: Morocco
  • Irwin, Ray W. The Diplomatic Relations of the United States with the Barbary Powers 1776-1816. . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1931.
  • Lambert, Frank. The Barbary Wars: American Independence in the Atlantic World . New York: Hill and Wang, 2005.