The Chargé in Morocco (Murphy) to the Secretary of State

No. 403

Sir: I have the honor to transmit, herewith to the Department a brief account of the proceedings accompanying the formal inauguration of the Tangier Convention, referred to in my No. 399 of June 4th, 1925.

The ceremony took place at the former German Legation, which, under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, was transferred from the German to the Moorish Government, is now known as the “Mendoobia,” that is, the official headquarters of the “Mendoob,” or Sultan’s Delegate to the Tangier Zone, and in which are also located the meeting hall of the International Legislative Assembly and the Courts of the Mixed Tribunals.

At 10 a.m., on June 1st, 1925, the Mendoob, the Consuls-General of France, Great Britain, Belgium and Holland, and their staffs, in full uniform, the English Judges the French and Spanish Judges, the French and Spanish public prosecutors, and all the nominated members of the International Legislative Body, assembled in the Central Hall of the Mendoobia. A limited number of invitations had been issued to prominent members of the Tangier community, who represented the general public at the ceremony.

The Mendoob opened the proceedings by reading in Arabic the Sultan’s “Dahir” declaring the new Tangier Statute to be in force. This “Dahir” was then read in Spanish by the Dragoman of the Spanish Consulate-General, and in French by the Dragoman of the French Consulate-General, as Secretaries of the Committee of Control.

The members of the Legislative Assembly then withdrew to their Hall, and having taken their seats, were followed by the Mendoob and the five Consuls-General above mentioned who, at present, compose the Committee of Control.

The judges and public prosecutors then entered, and took their oath of office, before the assembled authorities.

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Mr. Briscoe, one of the English Judges, who by virtue of his seniority in age, is President of the General Assembly of Stipendiary Judges, pronounced a brief allocution in French formally establishing the International Mixed Court of Tangier, and declared opened the first session of 1925.

A similar declaration was made in Spanish by the Spanish Prosecuting Attorney, after which the proceedings terminated.

During the ceremony a salvo of 21 guns was fired by the town batteries.

After these ceremonies, the Legislative Assembly held its first official meeting, at which it confirmed the resolutions which had been passed in the course of its several informal and preparatory meetings held prior to June 1st.

The population of the city showed no signs of enthusiasm on the occasion of the establishment of the new governmental régime. Apart from the irritation already caused by the increased port and harbor dues, and the added burdens of new taxation, there is very acute discontent at the restrictions and irksome formalities attending commercial transactions, as a result of the enforcement of the Statute. Among these, the precipitate establishment of a customs barrier on the frontier between the International and the Spanish Zones, and the collection of duplicate import duties at this barrier, before proper arrangements had been made with Customs Authorities of the French and Spanish Zones for the refund of such duplicate duties, have called forth the most violent protestations.

A few days before the inauguration of the Statute, I was asked by several members of the Committee of Control if I would officially attend the contemplated ceremonies, and naturally replied, that, under the circumstances, I regretted that it would not be possible for me to do so. A formal invitation by the Mendoob for me and the staff of this office, was however delivered to the Agency and Consulate-General, late in the afternoon of Sunday, May 31st. No member of this Agency was present at the proceedings.

I have [etc.]

J. Lee Murphy