881.00/1264: Telegram

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


Your telegram No. 5 of August 16, 7 p.m. My despatch No. 256 of November 22, 1921,11 contains a list of American claims in Spanish Zone. The persons mentioned in enclosures 2, 3, and 5 to that despatch have presented various claims since then and further claims in addition to this list have been filed by the Atlantic Refining Company, David Bergel and the Rah Amin Company here.

After a satisfactory adjustment of these claims, if formal recognition is to be extended it should be preceded, as a measure of precaution, by an understanding including the following principles: (1) that such recognition does not imply on the part of the United States any relinquishment of American judicial rights guaranteed under the capitulations or other diminution of American privileges and rights under existing treaties, including the Madrid Convention,12 and equality of treatment as provided in the Act of Algeciras; (2) that no fiscal enactments which may be promulgated by the Spanish authorities in their Zone beyond that authorized by existing treaties shall be enforced upon American nationals or protégés until they shall have been accepted by the American Government; (3) that the Spanish Government agree for the future not to apply to American nationals or protégés without the consent of the American Government the double collection of customs duties upon goods passing between the Spanish and the International Zones as referred to in Article 20 of the Statute of Tangier (see my despatch No. 106 of June 5, 1926); (4) that the Spanish Government agree to suppress various visa charges other than customary chancery fees on passports of Americans in Morocco and not to reimpose such charges in the future without the American Government’s consent.

The principles upon which these reservations are based were all agreed to by the French Government before our recognition of the French protectorate in Morocco and they continue to be observed.13

Regardless of how sympathetically the eventual aspirations of Spain in Morocco may be looked upon in general, it does not seem that at this time it would be either safe or consistent to display in [Page 730] favor of the Spanish Government any relaxation of the principles which we have previously thought to be of fundamental importance to our own interests in Morocco.

Also it is possible that, for bargaining purposes or otherwise, certain powers may advance adventitious reservations as the price of their agreement to the realization of Spanish aims. Therefore it is my suggestion that our attitude be one of caution (supplying such explanations as are necessary), so as to avoid being placed in a compromising position later by the terms of our reply to the first Spanish overtures toward an objective which not everyone believes may become a definite political reality.

A copy has been mailed to the Embassy at Madrid.

  1. Despatch and its enclosures not printed.
  2. Convention between Morocco and other powers, signed July 3, 1880; Malloy, Treaties, 1776–1909, vol. i, p. 1220.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1917, pp. 10931096.