811.11101 Waivers 81—

The Ambassador in Spain ( Bowers ) to the Secretary of State

No. 608

Sir: With reference to the Department’s instruction No. 174 of December 6th and to my despatch No. 597 of December 7th last,32 I have the honor to report that when the Counselor of the Embassy had occasion to call upon Sr. Castaño, Chief of the Over-Seas Division of the Foreign Office, to present him with a Note with regard to the discrimination practised against American citizens in Morocco in the matter of visa fees, passports, etc., he laid stress upon the fact that the treaties between the United States and Morocco, which the Act of Algeciras33 expressly states remain in force, provide for most-favored-nation treatment for American citizens. Sr. Castaño’s reaction to this remark was interesting. He did not attempt to deny our treaty rights, but implied that conditions in Morocco had changed greatly since 1906, and that the signatories of the Act of Algeciras should realize that these changes did much to justify a change in policy. He asserted that the French have gone much further in their commercial and other regulations in the French Zone than have the Spanish in the Spanish Zone. Mr. Johnson said that in his opinion no change in conditions could justify an infringement of rights given by treaties which are still in force, and made a remark calculated to draw out Sr. Castaño as to the possible intention of the Spanish Government to call a meeting of the signatories of the Act of Algeciras in an attempt to supersede the Act by a new agreement. Sr. Castaño said that such action would be too complicated for the present time as there were so many questions and interests involved, but again implied that the signatories should view with not too critical an eye measures adopted on account of changed conditions.

With regard to the specific point of visas for the Spanish Zone, Sr. Castaño remarked that it should be an easy thing for Spain and the United States to negotiate an agreement such as that negotiated between Spain and England. To this Mr. Johnson replied that it would seem to be unnecessary to negotiate any such agreement since American citizens are entitled to the privileges given to the English, French, or anyone else, by virtue of treaty provisions regarding most-favored-nation treatment.

An attempt has not been made to give the exact phraseology of the [Page 1021] remarks quoted above, but the conversation is reported since it seems of interest as indicative of the general policy of Spain in Morocco and of its attitude toward the Algeciras Convention. Senor Castaño’s attitude would seem to bear out the opinion of the Italian Chargé d’Affaires that Spain is adopting a “gnawing policy” toward the Convention—Despatch No. 559 of November 13th.34

In this connection Mr. Lens, Counselor of the French Embassy, remarked the other day that he understood that France, Spain and Great Britain were negotiating with regard to a change in the commercial regime in Morocco.

Respectfully yours,

Claude G. Bowers
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. For text of the General Act of the International Conference of Algeciras, signed April 7, 1906, see Foreign Relations, 1906, pt. 2, p. 1495. The signatory Governments were Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. ii, p. 857.