The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador.
Washington , December 15, 1911.
Excellency: Referring to your excellency’s note of the 6th instant inclosing copies of two explanatory letters exchanged between the ambassador of the French Republic at Berlin and the imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs, to accompany the Franco-German convention of November 4 last relative to Morocco and specifying the scope of some of the articles of that convention, previously transmitted, I have the honor to inform your excellency that in conformity with the traditional American foreign policy which forbids participation by the United States in the settlement of political questions which are entirely European in their scope, this Government must refrain from any expression of opinion for or against such part or parts of the Franco-German agreement in relation to Morocco as may be deemed of a political nature.
As regards the desire of the Government of the French Republic that the Government of the United States will adhere to the articles in this agreement relating to commercial rights and the administration of justice, I beg to call your excellency’s attention to the fact that adhesion on the part of this Government, so far as these articles are concerned, would involve a modification of our existing treaty rights with Morocco, which under our Constitution could only be done by and with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.
I take pleasure, however, in informing your excellency that, in conformity with the expressed desire of the French Republic, the Department would feel inclined, when the proper time may come, to undertake [Page 624] negotiations with a view to entering into such new treaty arrangements as may be appropriate for modifying our existing extraterritorial rights and the rights of American protégés in Morocco along the lines suggested in the Franco-German agreement and in general to agree in principle to the other articles of the agreement, provided that the commercial and other advantages secured to us under our existing treaties are preserved.
Accept, excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.