840.51 Frozen Credits/654

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

No. 35

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith, copy in the French text and in English translation, of a communication dated September 19, 1940, which I have received from the French Resident General at Rabat, concerning the difficulties attending the Protectorate Government’s disposal of its credits held in the United States.

General Noguès appeals to me to obtain from the competent authorities in the United States: (a) the quasi-automatic renewal of a monthly license (as granted in the month of June last) for the liberation of [Page 588] 25% of the blocked credits in America of the State Bank of Morocco; (b) the crediting to free account of all remittances and transfers to that Bank, particularly of an amount of $918,344 paid into its account by the Federal Reserve Bank; (c) liberation of the transfer to the Moroccan State from the Shereefian Phosphate Office of the latter’s funds (about $2,000,000), which are, in effect, on deposit with the Franco-American Banking Corporation of New York; (d) the unblocking in general of the dollar credits in the United States of other Moroccan individuals and institutions.

Not being familiar with the intricacies of the banking connections in the United States of the Moroccan and French Governments’ appendages, I hesitate to express an opinion on the details of this request.

In general, for the present, I favor letting this country have as many facilities for supplying itself with needed goods as possible. Should French Morocco become, to quote the Resident General, “enemy occupied territory,” it should not be difficult to re-impose the restrictions which such a situation might call for.

I would, however, suggest that, if it is not deemed feasible to accede to the Moroccan Government’s various requests, the Department may find it possible to transmit an explanation of the reasons which account for the apparent inconsistencies in the treatment, by the United States Treasury Authorities, of Moroccan transactions, and thus assist in removing from the minds of the Protectorate Authorities the perplexities of which General Noguès complains in this connection.

Respectfully yours,

J. C. White

The Resident General in the French Zone of Morocco (Noguès) to the American Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier (White)

No. 2581 S.G.P.

Mr. Minister: I take the liberty to draw your attention to a certain number of difficulties connected with the disposal of Moroccan credits in the United States.

Notwithstanding the blocking of French credits and, by extension, of Moroccan credits in the United States, a special measure was taken by the Department of State in favor of the State Bank of Morocco. The latter obtained from the American Authorities in the month of June the liberation of 25% of the amount of its credits in America, namely, 129,295 dollars out of a total of 517,180 dollars. It further obtained the transfer to free account of the credits which would derive from exportations or from free transfers.

[Page 589]

This measure has given rise in practice to various difficulties. In the first place, it is valid only for one month. The renewal of the license requires each time the adoption of procedure which attains results only after a somewhat long delay. For example, the license, granted in the first instance in respect of the period June 28–July 28, was not renewed until August 5. At the date of September 11th, we were still unaware whether the licence which expired on September 5 had been renewed for a new period. If the 345,000 dollars in cheques issued by the State Bank of Morocco on August 20 in payment of American credits are presented for payment in New York before such renewal, they cannot be met.

In the second place, the transfers ordered in favor of the bank encounter a variety of treatments, the diversity of which we are at a loss to explain.

The Bank of France assigns to the State Bank of Morocco in the Federal Reserve Bank, for the payment of our importations of agricultural tractors, industrial chassis, fuel oil and gas oil, round irons (fers ronds) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $313,600; this amount is credited to the Bank of Morocco in free account.

The Bank of France assigns to the State Bank of Morocco in the same Bank, for the payment of our importations of mineral oils and greases, gasoline, industrial chassis . . . . . . . . . . . . $218,334; the Bank of Morocco is credited with this amount in a blocked account.

A further transfer of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $700,000 effected by the Federal Reserve Bank upon the order of the Bank of France has likewise been credited to a blocked account.

The Shereefian Phosphate Office remits to the State Bank of Morocco cheques in dollars, the proceeds of its sales; the Bank of Morocco obtains credit for this remittance in a free account.

An American importer of casings makes a deposit for the account of his Moroccan supplier; credit is given for this deposit in a blocked account.

The Shereefian Phosphate Office, an official organization entrusted with the working of mines which are State property, possesses more than 2 million dollars, which it desires to retrocede to the Moroccan State. These dollars are on deposit with the bankers of the Phosphate Office, the “Crédit Foncier d’Algérie et de Tunisie,” and the latter have been instructed to pay in to the State Bank of Morocco, and to be placed at the disposal of the Shereefian Government, the following sums:

  • $515,160.95
  • $374,676.36
  • $600,000
  • $500,000

[Page 590]

The “Crédit Foncier d’Algérie et de Tunisie” has these sums in account with the French American Banking Corporation of New York, which has been instructed to transfer these amounts to the account of the State Bank of Morocco in order that the latter may dispose of them for the needs of the Protectorate. Transfer licences have not been forthcoming on the pretext that these amounts are blocked.

The reasons commonly given for the blocking of French credits in the United States should not be applicable to Moroccan credits. Morocco is not, and has not at any time, been occupied by enemy powers. Moreover the entire amount of American credits on Morocco, as known and declared up to date, have been settled.

Morocco has a pressing need of sugar and of tea, for the feeding of the natives, who are large consumers of these commodities, and gasoline for the activity of the country. In view of international political conditions an important part of such goods must be paid for in dollars.

In conclusion, I therefore request you, Mr. Minister, to mediate with the American Government to the end that a quasi automatic renewal be assured of the licence granted in the month of June liberating 25% of the blocked credits; that the Bank of Morocco may obtain credit in free account of all remittances and transfers in its favor, and particularly of $918,334 deposited for its account by the Federal Reserve Bank; that the 2 million dollars may be retroceded by the Shereefian Phosphate Office to the credit of the Moroccan State; and in order that the question of the unblocking of the dollar credits held in the United States for other Moroccan persons and institutions may receive favorable consideration.

Please accept [etc.]