381.11 Said, Sid Mohamed Ben

The Secretary of State to the Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier (Denning)

No. 241

Sir: The Department has received, in response to its instruction No. 221 of October 10, 1922, your despatch No. 64 of November 21, [Page 599] 1922,17 reporting the results of an investigation made by the Vice Consul in Chargé at Casablanca with a view to ascertaining the merits of the contention of the French Residency-General at Rabat that the’ semsar Sid Mohamed Ben Said has sought American protection in order to secure impunity for political activities hostile to the authorities of the Protectorate.

The Vice Consul’s report, as summarized by you, is to the effect that Sid Mohamed Ben Said is a peaceable and well-to-do Moor enjoying a high reputation in his community; that he is at present devoting his attention exclusively to the business of the Vacuum Oil Company, of which he is the sole representative at Salee; that he holds nothing against the French authorities and does not know why he should be suspected of hostility toward them; and that he has never taken part in any propaganda against the authorities. …

… Should you be unable to reach an understanding with the authorities through informal discussions, you may address a note to the Residency-General, stating the results of the investigation which has been made and adding the substance of the following:

As has been made clear in previous communications concerning the extension of American protection to native Moors employed as factors, brokers, or agents by American merchants, my Government is firmly of the opinion that the propriety of the extension of such protection is, under the applicable treaties, in every case a matter for the exclusive determination of the appropriate representatives of the United States. Any objections which may be made by the Shereefian Government to the inclusion of specific individuals in the lists of American protégés will, of course, be given courteous and serious consideration, but in considering such objections the representatives of the United States are obliged to bear in mind the importance of not unduly restricting the liberty of American merchants to choose for themselves the natives to be employed by them in their business affairs as factors, brokers, or agents, and to be placed under American jurisdiction and protection pursuant to the provisions of treaties. In the case of the semsar Sid Mohamed Ben Said the objections advanced in behalf of the Shereefian Government have been examined with the utmost care, and, in view of the suggestion that the semsar had sought American protection in order to secure impunity for activities hostile to the authorities of the Protectorate, a special investigation has been made by a representative of my Government. The investigation has revealed no evidence from which I can infer that the semsar is or has been unfriendly to the authorities of the Protectorate or that, in seeking American protection, he was in any way actuated by improper motives. I am, therefore, constrained to state, under instructions from my Government, that Sid Mohamed Ben Said, the representative of the Vacuum Oil Company at Salee, and the bearer of a certificate of [Page 600] American semsarship, is regarded by my Government as entitled to all the rights and privileges assured to semsars under the applicable treaties and usages and that upon appropriate occasions the protection of my Government will be extended to him as an American semsar. I may add that should the Shereefian Government at any time bring to my attention evidence tending to show that this semsar is unworthy of American protection, I shall not fail to give due consideration to such evidence.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Not printed.