881.203/1: Telegram

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

32. Your despatch no. 1547 of July 12, 1940 and Casablanca’s telegram no. 67, July 10, 3 p.m. It would appear that the issue raised by Goold and that which has arisen in connection with the note addressed to you by your Spanish colleague have to do with a possible conflict of jurisdiction where the security of the forces of the Occupying Power may be affected. It will no doubt be apparent to you that a distinction may be made between the two cases in that the former is concerned with a possible menace to the security of the armed forces of a Power whose status in Morocco has been recognized by this Government, while in the latter no such recognition has ever been accorded. The Department would appreciate receiving by air mail an expression of your views concerning these two cases in order that appropriate consideration may be given them in connection with the examination now being made of this general subject.

With regard to Azoulay, in the event it appears to you that Mr. Goold’s representations may be ineffectual or should you deem it desirable for other reasons, you are authorized to address a note to the French Protectorate authorities concerning the attempt of the French military tribunal to assume jurisdiction over this American protégé. In any note you may address to the French Protectorate [Page 809]authorities you should state that the proclamation of a state of siege in French Morocco cannot, in the absence of an agreement to that effect with this Government, confer upon French military tribunals jurisdiction over American nationals or American-protected persons who, under the treaties in force and in accordance with existing custom and usage, are liable to judicial proceedings only in American consular courts.

It should be added that this Government has no desire to interfere with the performance by the French Government of its proper undertakings in Morocco, but it cannot overlook contravention of American rights by the action of the French military authorities in Morocco in assuming jurisdiction over an American protégé charged with an offense that obviously does not threaten or in any way affect the security of the French military forces.

Appropriate reference may also be made in your discretion to the assurances which have been given the Protectorate authorities (see Department’s instruction no. 1054 of December 4, 1939)44 concerning the willingness of this Government to examine suggestions which those authorities might have to offer with a view to avoiding any special difficulties prejudicial to the interests of the Moroccan community which might result from the failure of this Government to give its approval to legislation enacted as a result of the exceptional circumstances in Morocco. It may be added that this Government’s assent would not appear to have been requested to the application to American nationals and American-protected persons of the Dahir of which Azoulay is charged with non-observance.

Please inform Casablanca.