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

No. 79

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that I attended a meeting of the International Commission of Cape Spartel Lighthouse, which was held at Tangier on March 16th, 1926, to discuss the question of improvements to the Lighthouse.

The procedure adopted, in this connection, in the year 1914 was reported to the Department in my Despatch No. 442 of May 7th, 1914, (File No. 882).25

Owing to the disinclination of the Powers signatory to the International Convention of 1865 to incur, at this time, the expense involved in the appointment of another International Commission of Experts entrusted with drawing up the proposed modifications, the Commission decided to invite the State Engineer of Public Works, Delegate of the Shereefian Service of Public Works in Tangier, to communicate to it proposals which have been drawn up by the Maghzen, for the improvement of the Lighthouse.

The scheme of modifications submitted by this functionary to the Commission, at the meeting above mentioned, is annexed hereto, both in the French text and in English translation.26

It was resolved at the meeting, that the Representatives of the Powers, members of the Commission, should submit these proposals to their respective governments, accompanied by a request for telegraphic instructions as to their assent thereto. I therefore respectfully solicit the Department’s cabled advice as to its approval of the project submitted. My communication to the President of the Commission of the eventual acquiescence of the United States Government in the scheme, will however be withheld until I have ascertained that the governments of all my Colleagues shall have likewise assented thereto.

The Department will recall that, on the former occasion when, in the years 1913 and 1914, improvements to the Cape Spartel Lighthouse were the subject of a decision in principle, it was contemplated that the governments who were parties to the International Convention of 1865, should share the cost of the modifications.

It will be observed that in the present instance, the Moorish Government signifies its willingness to carry out the works and to provide the necessary apparatus and materials at its own expense, notwithstanding [Page 748] the fact that the terms of the International Convention of 1865, according to the interpretation placed upon them hitherto, would appear to fix the burden of this expense upon the Representatives of the Powers which are members of the Convention.

The political significance of this spontaneous manifestation of liberality on the part of the Maghzen has been indicated to the Department in my Despatch No. 76 of March 11th, 1926, (File No. 882).

I would however respectfully suggest that there would be no occasion for the United States Government to put forward objections on this account, as no derogation to the Administrative and Controlling authority of the International Commission would appear to be attempted at the present time.

I have [etc.]

Maxwell Blake
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed; it is dated Mar. 15, 1926.