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

No. 1477

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of a communication to the American Consul General at Casablanca, dated August 3, 1939, embodying the substance of a conversation by telephone between Mr. Goold [Page 680] and myself on the subject of American claims in the French Zone. This conversation was subsequently confirmed by Mr. Goold in his letter to me of August 3, 1939, copy of which is also enclosed.60

The Department will note that the French Protectorate Authorities at Rabat continue to associate the settlement of our claims with the treaty negotiations now being pursued in Washington, and are endeavoring to restrict their prospective proposals to a partial solution, by the elimination of the case of the American protégé El-Yacoubi.

This claim concerns the confiscation by the Municipality of Meknes of water rights, which have been confirmed to El-Yacoubi by Vizirial Decree and given publicity by insertion in the Bulletin Officiel of the French Protectorate. It is significant to add that the pecuniary interest involved in this case, is the most important item of our claims.

I trust the Department will approve of my instructions to Mr. Goold in the sense indicated in my communication to him herewith enclosed.

My position in connection with the settlement of our claims rests upon the instructions from the Department, in its telegram to the Legation of November 19, 1937, 5 p.m.,61 to wit: (1) That property confiscated by the French Authorities be restituted to the owners; (2) or, if the above solution is found to be impracticable or inconvenient to the French Authorities, then the regulations for the expropriation of private property will apply, each party to the controversy designating a local assessor, and in the event of disagreement, a third arbitrator to be appointed by General Noguès and myself.

Respectfully yours,

Maxwell Blake

The Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier (Blake) to the Consul General at Casablanca (Goold)

Sir: For purposes of record, I desire that our telephonic conversation this morning should be set forth in writing, in view of its obvious importance.

I understood from our conversation that you had recently seen M. Broustra of the Diplomatic Cabinet, who stated that the Protectorate Government had been giving their attention to the question of the American claims, and that a proposal was ready to be submitted, covering all the cases except that of Yacoubi, but that, as they had heard nothing in regard to the treaty negotiations in Washington, it would not be submitted by them to me until a favorable outcome of the negotiations was known. It was not expected that M. Marchal would [Page 681] arrive in Rabat before October, and it was now thought that no action would be taken before then.

I would be very pleased if you would inform M. Broustra verbally, when the occasion presents itself, that I was somewhat surprised to find that the question of the American claims in the French Zone hinged upon treaty negotiations now taking place in Washington, as my Government had never accepted the point of view that these two subjects were in any way correlated. The French Government had been so informed by the American Government, and it was my understanding that the French Government had disclaimed any intention of associating the two subjects.

You may also inform M. Broustra that any proposal submitted to me which did not include provisions for the settlement of all the claims, would be unsatisfactory and would, indeed, in my opinion, be contrary to the agreement arrived at for the solution of these claims in the French Zone.

I am communicating copy of this letter to the Department, and to the Embassy at Paris, for their information.

Respectfully yours,

Maxwell Blake
  1. Not found in Department files.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1937, vol. ii, p. 871.