File No. 594/27–35.

Minister Gummeré to the Secretary of State.


Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of instruction No. 171, of February 19, 1909,1 inclosing copy of a letter from the [Page 434] Rev. George S. Fisher, inquiring whether a suitable house at Mequinez can now be obtained for the missionaries; and requesting me to report as to the present situation of the matter.

As the department is aware, in the month of January, 1909, Mouley Abdel Hafid was recognized as Sultan of Morocco by the powers signatory to the act of Algeciras, and on the 18th of that month I addressed a letter to his vizier of foreign affairs at Fez, setting forth what had been done in the matter of securing a house at Mequinez for the American missionaries, and requesting the immediate fulfilment of the solemn pledges given to me regarding the same. This letter, together with one addressed to Sid Omar Barrada was inclosed in a letter addressed to Rev. George Reed on the aforesaid 18th of January, 1909.

Early in the month of February, 1909, I received a letter from the Rev. George Reed, dated January 29, 1909, acknowledging the receipt of the letter addressed to him, with inclosures, and informing me that accompanied by Sid Omar Barrada he had presented my letter to the Vizier, and that later they were informed that the letter requested would not be granted.

On receipt of Mr. Reed’s letter I wrote to him on February 8, 1909, acknowledging his letter and informing him that after waiting a suitable time for the reply to my letter to the vizier, I should report the matter to the Department of State, and recommend that strong action be taken, etc.

As I received no acknowledgment at all to my letters to the vizier, I thought it best to make representations on the subject to Sid Mohamed Ben Guebbass, the Sultan’s representative at Tangier, before reporting to the department, and had made an appointment with him for so doing on the day of my reception of the department’s instruction No. 171. I expressed myself very strongly on the matter to Sid Guebbass, not only as to the nonfulfilment of the promises given in regard to the house, but as to the discourtesy shown in not acknowledging my letter. Sid Guebbass expressed great regret and surprise at what I had to tell him, and requested that I state the whole matter in a letter to himself, which he would forward to the court, with a strong remonstrance from himself. I have accordingly addressed such a letter to Sid Guebbass.

As the department will see, I have acted in this matter with all possible speed and energy, previous to the reception of instructions on the subject.

The reply of Sid Guebbass and of the court will be at once forwarded to the department, and in the meantime I would be very glad to receive further instructions from the department.

S. R. Gummeré.
[Inclosure 1.]

Minister Gummeré to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No. 1.]

I have the honor to request that your excellency will bring the following matter to the notice of His Majesty the Sultan.

For some time past some American citizens living at Fez and Mequinez have been endeavoring to secure a suitable dwelling house in Mequinez, outside of [Page 435] the Mellah which was not healthy, and by direction of my Government I have from time to time urged the matter upon the Maghzen, and during my late mission to the Shereefian court this matter of a house at Mequinez for my citizens was the first one presented for adjustment. I was then solemnly promised that the Basha of Mequinez should receive a strong letter from the Maghfen instructing him not only to throw hindrance in the way but to aid these American citizens in every way to secure a suitable house in that city. This promise, however, was not carried out to the great surprise of my Government, and then, as the Morocco Government became unstable, it was allowed to rest until a more propitious time.

I am now directed by my Government to inform your excellency that a stable government having been happily established they request the carrying out of the solemn pledge given to me, and that a strong Shereefian letter be addressed to the Basha of Mequinez instructing him to aid these American citizens to secure a suitable house in Mequinez.

I am informed by my citizens that a responsible man named Sid Hamed Ben Zakor, of Fez, is ready to supply such a house in Mequinez, and that a letter to the Basha of Mequinez was promised to them regarding the same, but was never sent as promised. In view of all this I have requested Sid Omar Barrada to assist my citizens in bringing this matter to the notice of His Majesty the Sultan and yourself and again request that orders be at once given to carry out the solemn promises of the Maghzen, regarding the securing of a house for American citizens in Mequinez.

S. R. Gummeré.
[Inclosure 2.]

Minister Gummeré to Sid Omar Barrada.

For sometime past Mr. George Reed and other American citizens have been endeavoring to secure a suitable dwelling house in Mequinez and a solemn promise was given to me by the Maghzen during my late mission to the Shereefian Court that orders should be given to the Basha of Mequinez to aid in securing such a house, but the promise was never carried into effect, and as the Government became unstable it was allowed to rest. Now, however, that a strong Government has been established, by direction of my Government I have written a letter to the Maghzen demanding the immediate carrying into effect of the said promise. If you are able to assist Mr. Reed in any way in this or other matters I will be exceedingly obliged to you.

S. R. Gummeré.
[Inclosure 3.]

Minister Gummeré to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No. 10.]

As your excellency is aware, for some years past the matter of securing a house at Mequinez outside of the Mellah for some American citizens has been a matter of negotiations between the Moorish Government and myself. At the time of my mission to his majesty, the Sultan, at Fez, some two years since, this by direction of my Government, was the first matter to be brought to the notice of the Maghzen and I was instructed to demand the immediate fulfillment of my request for such a house. In reply to sueh request I received not only the solemn promise of the Vizer Ben Sliman and of his majesty, the Sultan himself, but a written pledge as well, that a strong letter should be addressed to the governor of Mequinez directing him not only not to put any obstacle in the way of the American citizens’ efforts to secure a house, but to treat them kindly add to do everything possible to assist them to secure such a house as they required. Such a letter was delivered to me and handed by the Americans themselves to the governor of Mequinez, who, however, paid no attention to it, notwithstanding my strong remonstrances to Ben Sliman. As shortly afterward the country began to be in a disturbed condition nothing more was done in the [Page 436] matter until the 5th of March, 1908, when, by direction of my Government, I wrote again to Ben Sliman and requested an explanation of the nonfulfillment of the solemn pledges of the Sultan and himself regarding the securing of the said house. To this the vizier replied on 17th of March, 1908, that he brought the matter to the notice of His Majesty, the Sultan, and that His Majesty commanded him to reply that he had not forgotten to carry out as soon as possible the promises made on the subject, but that it would be necessary to wait until order was reestablished at Mequinez when strict orders would be given so as to fulfill what had been agreed with myself. Since that time, as your excellency is aware, there has been a change of government in Morocco, and His Majesty, Mouley Abdelhafid, now occupies the throne and, having been recognized by the great powers as Sultan of Morocco, the country once more is tranquil under a strong government. In view of this and having received word from my citizens that they had found a suitable house at Mequinez, the owner of which was ready to rent it to them, I wrote to the vizier of foreign affairs at Fez on the 16th of January last, setting forth the matters as herein stated and requested that Shereefian orders be at once given for the carrying out of the solemn promises given to me regarding the securing of a house for the American citizens at Mequinez. This letter was duly delivered, but not only have no such orders, as requested, been given, but not the slightest notice or acknowledgment of my letter has been made. I must inform your excellency that this is a very great discourtesy to the representative of a great power and can not be tolerated. I therefore address this letter to your excellency, not only that you may be aware of the matter, but that you may bring it at once to the notice of His Majesty, the Sultan, with the request for the immediate fulfillment of the promise regarding the house at Mequinez as well as an explanation of and apology for the manner in which my letter to the vizier of foreign affairs has been treated. As my Government is pressing regarding this matter I have to request immediate action on your excellency’s part, with the suggestion that there are limits to patience.

S. R. Gummeré.
  1. Not printed.