The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Dawes ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1635

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s confidential instruction No, 628, January 7, 1931 (File No. 881.6463/21), concerning the electric light concession in Tangier, and to state that the information contained therein was duly conveyed to the Foreign Office on January 19. After a study of the attitude of the Department of State by the Foreign Office, the Embassy is now in receipt of an informal note which, after expressing appreciation of the informal and confidential opinion on the American position, goes on to say:

“Your Government may rest assured that we shall only authorise our representative on the Committee of Control to agree to the grant of this concession without adjudication if there is a clear statement to the effect that its grant is made without prejudice to the question of principle. I ought however to warn you that it is possible that we may be out-voted in the Committee of Control and that the majority may decide to approve the grant of this concession without making any reference to the principle at stake. For this reason we should have been very glad to get the support of your Government in safeguarding the principle and we were wondering whether this could not be done by a notification to the Shereefian Government through your agent in Tangier that you agree to this concession as an exception, instead of a protest against its grant without adjudication. This is of course a matter for your Government to decide.

“In any case we do not propose to go even this far towards meeting the French unless and until we receive either the questionnaire which [Page 756] the Committee of Control agreed that they should submit to the governments enquiring their views on the question of principle, viz. on the applicability of the Franco-German Convention of 1911 in the Tangier Zone, or a definite undertaking to circulate that questionnaire. Our views are that that Convention is not applicable in the Tangier Zone and that, in consequence, the stipulation in Article 6 to the effect that concessions for the exploitation of public works may be freely granted, does not apply in the case of the electric light concession. This view is, I take it, the same as the view held by the United States Government and, as at present advised, we think that if the other governments do not accept it we shall have to submit the question to arbitration.”

I venture to invite the Department’s attention to the suggestion in the latter part of paragraph (1), and to request that I may be duly informed of any decision reached in the matter.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy