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

No. 155

Sir: In reference to my despatch No. 107 of June 7, 1926, and to previous correspondence with the Department upon the Proposed [Page 755] Improvements to the Light of Cape Spartel, I have now the honor to report that a meeting of the International Commission of the Lighthouse was held at Tangier on December 29, 1926, to consider the replies of the various Governments to the questionnaire,31 transmitted in my No. 79 [92]32 and which formed the subject of the Department’s telegram No. 4 of May 17, 1925 [1926], 2 p.m.

At this meeting the Spanish Delegate proposed on behalf of his Government that the execution of the improvement works in question should be confided, not to the Public Works Department of the French Protectorate, as put forward at the last meeting of the International Commission, but to a special commission, composed of (1) a representative of the Public Works Department of the Spanish Zone, (2) a representative of the competent Department of the French Zone, and (3) a third member designated by the International Commission, and who should be neither French nor Spanish.

However when it was evident that this Spanish proposal would not be adopted, the Spanish Consul General stated that the main object of his Government in the premises was to conserve the International character of the Commission, and with this end in view, he subscribed to the point of view and reservations set forth in a memorandum of the Italian Representative, which had been read out at the meeting, regarding the conditions under which execution of the improvements by the technical services of the Zone of the French Protectorate, would be accepted.

The Department will be interested to be informed that the minutes of the meeting record the aforementioned views of the Italian Government as being substantially those formulated by the Government of the United States. As a matter of fact, apart from unimportant differences in wording the note submitted to the International Commission on behalf of the American Government (see enclosure to my Despatch No. 107 of June 7, 1926) and that communicated by the Italian Government are identical in tenor, the American conditions having been laid some 3 months in advance of those formulated by the Italian Government. In other terms the Italian conditions constitute almost a verbatim copy of the American conditions.

The reservations of principle in regard to procedure embodied in these notes have therefore been adopted by the International Commission.

It was apparent however that, so far as concerns the technical decisions to be taken, there still existed divergencies of opinion, and [Page 756] in this connection, Mr. Fayard, the Representative of the Shereefian Government presented to the meeting a Memorandum for the consideration of the various Powers represented. It was agreed that this Memorandum should be submitted by each member of the International Commission, to his Government, together with a request for telegraphic reply thereto.

A copy in the French text and in English translation, of Mr. Fayard’s note is attached hereto.33 It suggests that Mr. de Rouville, Engineer in Chief of the Lighthouses of France, should, through direct contact and correspondence, with the Directors of the lighthouses of other countries signatory to the Cape Spartel Lighthouse Convention, elaborate a common technical scheme of improvements, for submission to the International Commission at Tangier. This method, it is stated, would appear preferable, from standpoints of economy and expeditiousness, to the assembly, in Tangier, of a special technical commission, such as was constituted in 1914.

I venture to suggest that the procedure above outlined might be adopted without objection, providing due deference is paid to the reservations, formulated by the American and the Italian Governments, and adhered to by the International Commission in Tangier, and I would respectfully solicit the Department’s appropriate telegraphic instructions, after its perusal of the present report.

I have [etc.]

Maxwell Blake
  1. Not printed.
  2. Ante, p. 748.
  3. Not printed.