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

No. 1547

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that the Spanish Minister in Tangier has addressed a Note to me,39 transmitting “for my information” copy, in the French text, of an order issued by the Colonel in Chief of the Spanish troops of occupation of Tangier. This order proclaims that offenses committed against the members of the forces, involving disrespect towards them, danger to their safety, or obstruction to the performance of their duties, will be dealt with by Spanish Courts Martial in Tangier, whosoever may be the person charged with such offenses.

Mr. Goold, on the other hand, reports that in the Permanent Court Martial at Fez, French Morocco, proceedings are now pending against an American protégé, Rahamin Azoulay, charged with failure to declare stocks, as required under the terms of a Dahir to which, moreover, the American Government’s assent has not been given. In his representations in this connection to the Diplomatic Cabinet at Rabat, Mr. Goold points out that the matter is further aggravated by the fact that the civil courts in the French Zone continue to prosecute charges for similar offenses committed by non-American ressortissants, that is to say by persons other than those who, according to the treaties are amenable to the jurisdiction of the American Consular Courts in Morocco.

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In an instruction addressed to the American Ambassador in Paris, under date of January 3, 1921,41 the latter, in connection with a similar violation of American extraterritorial jurisdiction in French Morocco, was directed to point out to the French Minister for Foreign Affairs that:

“The proclamation of Martial Law by the French Authorities of the Protectorate cannot, in the absence of an agreement to that effect with the Government of the United States, confer upon French military tribunals jurisdiction over American protegees, who, under the treaties in force and the existing usages, are liable to judicial proceedings only in the American Consular Courts, representing in Morocco not the dignity of His Shereefian Majesty but the sovereign authority of the United States.”

(See last paragraph on page 7 of Enclosure to Instruction No. 191 of January 3, 1921, addressed to the American Agent and Consul General in Tangier. See also Instruction to American Ambassador, Paris, of November 19, 1921, Enclosure to Instruction to Tangier, No. 203 of November 19, 192142).

In view of the foregoing I respectfully request instructions, by cable should the Department deem it necessary, as to the action which it may be desired that I take in regard to each of the two cases above reported.

In so far as concerns the Spanish authorities, whether civil or military, it may be recalled that no formal recognition of their status in Morocco has yet been given by the Government of the United States.

Respectfully yours,

Maxwell Blake

Military Order by the Commander of the Spanish Occupation Troops in Tangier (Yuste)

Don Miguel Ponte y Manso de Zúñiga, Marqués de Bóveda de Limia, Lieutenant General, Chief of the Army Corps of Morocco, and in his name Don Antonio Yuste Segura, Colonel of Infantry, Chief of the Column of Occupation of the Tangier Zone.

I hereby give notice that:

The proper complement to the presence of the Forces of Occupation of my command in the Tangier Zone, as well as the guarantee of normal development of the complex functions entrusted to them, is the exercise and effectiveness of military jurisdiction which constitutes the fundamental power of a permanent character in the life of the accompanying army and provides the necessary arm for the execution [Page 807] of the high commissions which have been entrusted to the army—a military jurisdiction which at all times follows the Forces of Occupation, wherever they may be, or whatever the reasons for the occupation, according to the basic principle of Public International Law.

In virtue of the foregoing, I ordain:

  • Article 1. The following matters shall be subjected to the Military Jurisdiction of the Forces of Occupation and tried by summary procedure whosoever may be the person charged:
    Espionage offences, mentioned and penalized under articles 228 and 230, both comprised in the Code of Spanish Military Justice, whenever the offence assumes the following military character:
    To penetrate clandestinely or in disguise without justified motive among the troops of occupation or into places where they are installed.
    To carry out, without proper authorization, reconnaissances, drawing of plans, or to obtain sketches of military posts or of places where the forces of occupation are permanently to be found.
    To protect, conceal or to favor in any other manner perpetrators of the above offences.
    Conspiracy or proposition to commit the above offences.
    Insulting offences to a sentinel, guard or the armed forces of the Troops of Occupation, and injuries or offences, open or disguised, against specified branches, classes, or corps of the service, or against the military authorities.
  • Article 2. The following shall be deemed guilty of the offence of rebellion, within the meaning of the Code of Military Justice, and shall be tried accordingly.
    Persons who disseminate false or tendentious news for the purpose of impairing the prestige of the Forces of Occupation.
    The authors, instigators, liaison agents, distributors or possessors of clandestine or subversive broadsheets or proclamations, the contents of which are prejudicial to discipline or security, or to the prestige of the elements composing the troops of occupation, or to the prestige of Spain.
    Persons who for the purpose of obstructing or preventing the action assigned to the forces of occupation, promote, or succeed in creating disturbance of public order such as to imperil the mission of the said forces.
    All persons who, whatever means they may employ, attempt to perform, or succeed in performing acts of sabotage or obstruction to roads, and means of communication, telephone or telegraph stations, highways or bridges, provided the ulterior object of such acts is to make difficult the functions entrusted to the troops of occupation, and are consequently directed against the latter.
    Persons engaged in the clandestine sale of fire arms for purposes which may prejudice the security of the forces of occupation or that of persons belonging to the same.
  • Article 3. No intimation or previous notice shall be required when armed force is used to repel attacks on sentinels, guards or on military forces.
  • Article 4. In respect of penal prosecutions the Military Jurisdiction in Morocco is extended to the Zone and town of Tangier, for the trial of specifically military offences.

In conclusion I hope to find the active co-operation of all those who desire public order, and who personify the traditional qualities of the Tangier population, in order to be assured of the greatest effectiveness, which is the essential factor in the execution of the important duties assigned today to the forces under my command.

Antonio Yuste

(Seal of the “Inspection of Shereefian Forces”)
  1. Note of transmittal dated July 8, not printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. ii, p. 736.
  3. Not printed.
  4. File translation revised by the editors.