The Secretary of State to Ambassador White and Minister Gummeré.
Washington , November 28, 1905 .
Gentlemen: The President having selected you to represent the United States at the forthcoming Moroccan conference, the following brief instructions are communicated to you for your guidance:
The United States is a participant in the discussions of the conference solely by reason of being a treaty power, having conventional engagements with Morocco dating back to 1836, by which this country not only enjoys special privileges, but is entitled to the most-favored-nation treatment for the time being. This government also shares in the right of protection of certain native Moors as defined in the multipartite convention of July 3, 1880. Our interest and right comprise and are limited to an equal share in whatever privileges of residence, trade, and protection are enjoyed by, or may be hereafter conceded by, the Shereefian Government to aliens and their local agencies, and it follows that we have a like concern in the enlargement of those privileges in all appropriate ways. With the special political problems of influence and association affecting the relations of the Moroccan Empire, as a Mediterranean state, to the powers having interests in that great sea and whose concern lies naturally in the conservation and extension of its commerce for the common benefit of all, the United States have little to do beyond expression of its wish that equality and stability be secured.
The French and German Governments have agreed upon a programme of the general subjects to be submitted to the conference. A copy thereof is attached hereto. It is not understood to exclude suggestions by other powers.
The first subject comprises two distinct features, as to one of which the United States shares the concern of the powers in a direct and large measure, while our interest in the other is indirect.
The organization, by means of an international agreement, of the Moroccan police outside of the border region is a measure whereby far-reaching reform may be accomplished to the benefit of all the powers having relations with Morocco. Intercourse with that country demands the existence of internal conditions favorable thereto. Security of life and property; equality of opportunities for trade with all natives; amelioration of those domestic conditions of religion and class which now weigh upon non-Mussulmans, and which impair the freedom of salutary foreign intercourse with the native population; improvement of the condition of the people that will enable them to profit by the opportunities of foreign traffic; orderly and certain administration of impartial justice; rigorous punishment of crimes against persons and property; exemption from erratic taxes and burdens; removal of class restrictions, and the power to repress [Page 679] subversive disorder and preserve the public peace—all these enter as important factors into the problems of effectively policing the interior and of removing the barriers which have heretofore opposed the foreigner at the threshold and the non-Mussulman in the interior. In short, while it is to the advantage of the powers to secure the “open door” it is equally vital to their interests and no less so to the advantage of Morocco that the door, being open, shall lead to something; that the outside world shall benefit by assured opportunities, and that the Moroccan people shall be made in a measure fit and able to profit by the advantages of the proposed reform.
The second division of the first subject—suppression of the smuggling of arms in the border region between Morocco and Algeria—is qualified in the programme by restricting the enforcement of regulations to that end to the exclusive concern of France and Morocco. As a cognate subject, however, regulations for the repression of all contraband traffic, whether on the inland frontiers or on the coast, would inure to the benefit of all, and in that conception might well be considered by the conference.
The second subject—financial reform—as formulated in the programme, appears not to contemplate any discrimination in regard to the influence of foreign states. Here, again, the “open door” seems to be the sound policy to advocate, and in the absence of any suggestion that especial control or predominant influence of a foreign power or of any powers in concert in the financial administration of Morocco is contemplated it does not appear needful to give you particular instructions.
The third subject—to wit, the more economical collection of revenues and the establishment of new taxes or dues—would concern this country only in the event of such duties or other charges being levied as would in practice discriminate against the commerce of the United States or weigh more heavily upon American commercial, professional, or corporate enterprises in Morocco than upon the like ventures of other foreigners. Equality of treatment in all matters of trade, commerce, navigation, and individual pursuits being established, it would only remain to so adjust the revenues as to distribute the advantages of trade evenly among all the treaty nations and at the same time encourage the productive and assimilative capacity of the Moorish people.
The fourth subject, which aims at the prevention of private monopoly of the public services by farming them out or otherwise alienating them, is allied to the foregoing in the sense of averting discriminatory treatment and has a potential bearing upon the question of internal police and the maintenance of order in that it makes the Moroccan Government the responsible factor for the regular collection and economic application of its own revenues. The interests of the tax farmer and of the government are quite antipodal. This proposition may be cordially supported by you.
It is expected that your attitude in the proceedings of the conference will display the impartial benevolence which the United States feels toward Morocco and the cordial and unbiased friendship we have for all the treaty powers. Fair play is what the United States asks—for Morocco and for all the interested nations—and it confidently expects that outcome.[Page 680]
The complete dissociation of the United States from all motives or influences which might tend to thwart a perfect agreement of the powers should in case of need lend weight to your impartial counsels in endeavoring to compose any dissidence of aims which may possibly develop in the course of the conference.
With these briefly outlined instructions, the representation of the United States at the conference of Algeciras is intrusted to you by the President, with full confidence in your discretion and in your ability to treat the complex questions which will come before you.
You will consult the Department freely by cable upon occasion, and you will from time to time concisely report in the same way the progress made during the conference. At its close you will submit to the President a full report of its proceedings and conclusions. If an international convention should be required to formulate the results, you will, unless otherwise instructed, subscribe ad referendum merely, reserving formal plenipotentiary signature until you shall be duly empowered.
I am, etc.,