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

No. 345

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my Despatch No. 76 of March 11th, 1926,73 reporting manoeuvres on the part of the French and of the Shereefian Government, looking to the practical effacement of the International Commission for the Maintenance of the Lighthouse at Cape Spartel, established under the provision of the Convention of 1865,74 and to inform the Department that these attempts have recently been renewed.

In a communication addressed to me, as President of the Cape Spartel Commission, Sid Mohammed Tazzi, Sultan’s Representative at Tangier, upon the instructions of the Shereefian Government at Rabat, expressed the desire to see the operation and administration of the Lighthouse at Cape Spartel, confided to the Engineer and Technical Advisor of the Maghzen, under a double delegation from the International Commission of Cape Spartel at Tangier, on the one hand, and from the Shereefian Government, on the other.

I appended the following observations to my circular letter which submitted the Maghzen’s communication to my Colleagues:—

“I desire, in my capacity as Representative of the United States on the International Commission of the Cape Spartel Lighthouse, to recall to you the position which I have taken on a former occasion in regard to this subject. The proposition, which requires us virtually to relinquish functions specifically attributed to the Commission by the Convention of 1865, would involve a fundamental derogation from the latter. Consequently, the question appears to be placed entirely beyond our competence and to be exclusively of the competence of our Governments. Moreover, all the dispositions which the Maghzen could desire in respect of the proper operation of the modernized Lighthouse appear already to exist, since the Commission has the advantage of being able to avail itself of the assistance of the State Engineer in regard to technical matters. Under these conditions I do not, for my part, see the usefulness of [Page 538]disturbing the constitutional powers conferred upon the Commission at Tangier by the Convention of 1865. In any event I could only refer the matter to my Government.”

My Colleagues on the Commission appear all to agree with the above quoted annotation of the Circular. However, several of them have brought the Maghzen’s proposal to the attention of their governments and the matter may therefore again appear in the discussions of the Commission. In such event, I should be grateful for the Department’s Instructions, which will presumably be to confirm definitely the position outlined in my Despatch above mentioned and approved by the terms of the Department’s cable Instruction No. 3 of April 13th, 1926, 1 p.m.75

I have [etc.]

Maxwell Blake
  1. Ibid., p. 743.
  2. Malloy, Treaties, 1776–1909, vol. i, p. 1217.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. ii, p. 748.