The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Harvey)
309. Department refers to telegram from France of October 23, 4 p.m., repeated to you by Paris Embassy and desires you to inquire orally and informally of the Foreign Office in regard to the British attitude toward the French program for Tangier, particularly in [Page 582] regard to the French proposal set forth in paragraph two of the Embassy’s telegram.
In your conversation you are not to make use of the following confidential information. It is the Department’s opinion that a protectorate seems to contemplate the retention of the international personality of the protected country, this retention being shown by permitting it to continue to participate to some extent in its own foreign relations. When the French established a protectorate over Morocco in 1912 and the British over Egypt in 1914, neither power appeared to oppose the operation of this principle. If a protecting state or group of states seeks to abolish this international personality of its ward by doing away completely with the right of the protected state to have diplomatic intercourse with other countries, the protector would, it seems, be obliged to annex the territory concerned and in this way make known definitely the assertion of the protector’s supremacy as territorial sovereign. From this point of view and without asserting any interest in preventing such annexation over the territory embracing Tangier, the United States, in the present instance, has a definite right to insist that, pending actual annexation, the existing diplomatic relationship between the United States and the Shereefian Government of Morocco continue unmolested.
The Government of the United States enjoys its right of diplomatic representation in Morocco by virtue first, of its treaty with Morocco of September 16, 1836; second, the general convention on protection of July 3, 1880; and third, the convention of Algeciras of April 7, 1906.