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

No. 791

Sir: In further reference to my No. 787 of November 24th, 1932, which replied to Instruction No. 713 of November 10th, 1932, (File No. 881.51/45),2 I have the honor to enclose herewith, in the French text and in English translation, copy of a communication, dated December 1st, 1932, from Monsieur Lucien Saint, Resident General of France at Rabat,3 in explanation of his declaration as to the incorporation of the proceeds of the Special Tax created by Article 66 of the Act of Algeciras,4 with the ordinary budget of the French Protectorate in Morocco.

These explanations are found to be identical in tenor with those made by the French Government in response to the representations on the subject by the British Government, and the latter, my British Colleague informs me, is not disposed to press the matter further, in view of the fact that there appears to be no question that the expenditures by the Protectorate Government on public works of the nature referred to in Article 66 of the Act of Algeciras, exceed in amount the proceeds of the Special Tax.

My own analysis of the situation is set forth in my despatches Nos. 716 and 787 of March 23rd and November 24th, 1932 respectively,2 and I would deeply appreciate an expression of the Departments view in the premises, and its instructions as to the tenor of the reply which it may deem advisable to return to the French Resident-General’s Note of which a copy is annexed hereto.

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In addition to the considerations set forth in the despatches above referred to, I would signalize to the Department the invocation by the French Resident-General of the Protectorate Treaty of March 30th, 1912, between Morocco and France,6 as a justification of the unilateral action of France in deciding upon a departure, in theory at least, from the specific provisions of Article 66 of the Act of Algeciras.

In view of the fact that it has been necessary on several occasions in the past to recall to the French and to the Protectorate Governments that the United States has not adhered to the Treaty of March 30th, 1912 and that, so far as the United States Government is concerned, that treaty cannot be deemed in any manner to justify any modification of the terms of anterior treaties to which the United States is a party, the Department may deem necessary a reiteration of this principle in the present connection.

It is unnecessary to point out that Monsieur Lucien Saint’s Note of December 1st, 1932, evades the real principle at issue, and ignores the fact that the specifically temporary character of the Special Tax makes it abundantly clear, in my opinion, that the Moroccan Government is not empowered, without the assent of the other signatories of the Act of Algeciras, to appropriate the proceeds of the tax, except with a strict observance of the terms of Article 66 of the Act of Algeciras.

Respectfully yours,

Maxwell Blake
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Signed April 7, 1906, Foreign Relations, 1906, pt. 2, p. 1495.
  4. Neither printed.
  5. The American Journal of International Law, Supplement, 1912, vol. vi, p. 207; British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cvi, p. 1023.