Mr. Fairchild to Mr. Blaine.
Madrid, April 20, 1881. (Received May 9.)
Sir: * * * I have now the honor to report that I proceeded to Tangier, Morocco, where I arrived on the 22d of last month.[Page 1055]
Keeping constantly in mind that the object of the visit was to learn all I could of the present condition of the Jews and other non-Mohammedan subjects of the Sultan, I embraced every opportunity to converse with and make inquiries of residents of Tangier on the subject. I had before leaving Madrid provided myself with letters to certain Jews in Tangier who were well known to their prominent co-religionists here and in Paris, so that the very best facilities were afforded me for obtaining information from unofficial sources. I also conferred freely with several of the diplomatic corps resident in that city.
I will not attempt to describe the condition of the people in whose well-being the Government of the United States takes so great an interest. The files of the Department of State, through our energetic consul at Tangier, and from many other sources, contain all that can now be said on the subject by any one. ‘that the treatment of the Jews is not now in any perceptible degree better or more humane than it was before the writing of the letter of the Sultan to the Madrid conference on affairs in Morocco last summer, is a melancholy fact, notwithstanding the far-reaching promises made in that communication.
While the Jews are subjected constantly to the greatest humiliation because of their religious belief, murders of and brutal behavior towards them by Mohammedans are not of daily occurrence; still, at brief intervals, such sad events happen, and the protection of the victims often enlists the earnest sympathy and active efforts of the official representatives of foreign countries at Tangier. Without such protection as those officials can give by interceding in behalf of the oppressed, and by urgent demands for the punishment of the guilty ones, the situation of the Jews would be an hundred-fold worse.
However, it is believed by many who have had much experience in Morocco, that the Sultan would be glad to see a greater measure of liberty granted to all of his non-Mohammedan subjects; but that should he endeavor to enforce official decrees to that effect he would be met by such resistance from his Mohammedan subjects as would endanger his throne. Of rebellions and civil wars His Majesty has on his hands more than a comfortable supply at all times, and his anxiety to avoid one which would seriously jeopardize his government cannot be wondered at. The bright side of the picture is the fact that most of the important governments of the world have representatives at Tangier, all of whom are unflagging in their endeavors to lessen the burdens of the oppressed in that unhappy land, and I am proud to know that my own country stands well to the front in this good work, and that our consul, Mr. Mathews, loses no opportunity to effectively contribute his full share in that direction.
All that can be done in the near future is to continue to protect the suffering people by intercession in individual cases, and by constant appeals to the Sultan to do all that he can, or dare, towards the uplifting of those who are now in such downtrodden condition. European complications may arise which will be of vast benefit to Morocco, and I look forward with pleasure to the day, which possibly we will see, when some one or more of the European nations will have gained such ascendency over it as to be able to compel, by force if necessary, a more enlightened and liberal administration of affairs. Thus the people of Morocco can be relieved, and I see at present no other hope.
While I am unable, because of this visit to Tangier, to add much to the information already in the possession of the Department, I have the advantage of having ascertained on the spot that the reports which have for years been published of the sad situation of the people there, [Page 1056] have not been in the least exaggerated, and I have the greatest satisfaction in knowing more of the philanthropic efforts in their behalf by the official representatives of foreign countries—the United States not being behind any other. And these efforts of the Government of the United States are most highly appreciated by those in whose behalf they are put forth, as well as by their brothers in religion in the United States and in Europe. As an indication of that feeling, I beg to quote from a letter to me from one of the most prominent Israelites (a citizen of the United States) in Europe, who learned of the object of my journey to Morocco. He writes:
It does one’s heart good to belong to a government which is as strong and mighty as it is humane and philanthropic, and which from motives of pure humanity sends one of its ministers to a far off country in order to alleviate the sufferings of a people and a race which is quite foreign to it.
Confident that my government will in the future, as in the past, be one of the foremost of nations in such good works, I shall always esteem it a high privilege, whether as one of its officials or as a private citizen, to contribute thereto my very best efforts.
I have, &c.,