740.00118 E. W. 1939/201
Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)
Mr. Berle: With Mr. Berle’s approval arrangements were made through U–L30 for representatives of the War Department and the Navy Department to call at my office to discuss the possibility of assigning Navy and Army officers to certain posts in Morocco. Colonel Smith of the War Department and Captain Bode of the Navy Department called to discuss this matter. I showed Colonel Smith telegram no. 51 of March 1 from Tangier,31 a copy of which had already been sent to the Navy Department, and I gave each officer a paraphrase of the Tangier Legation’s telegram no. 53 of March 5.31
I then went on to point out for the strictly confidential information of these officers that the Department was considering the possibility of extending economic cooperation to the territories in French North Africa, i. e. Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. This plan, if adopted, would envisage the stationing at key points in those territories of American officials whose duty it would be to see that goods imported from the United States were not reexported to any third country and were not built up into large stocks. I explained that it seemed doubtful whether the necessary personnel to carry out these functions was available in the Foreign Service, and I inquired whether either or both the War and Navy Departments would be interested in furnishing such personnel who could, in addition to their control [Page 310]duties, prepare such reports on their observations as might be of interest to the War and Navy Departments. Both officers expressed the opinion that their Departments would be greatly interested in furnishing such personnel. In order that they might explore the situation further they asked that a brief memorandum be furnished to them through U–L stating the situation and indicating as definitely as we could the ports and control points at which officers would be required. It was again emphasized to both officers that no final decision had been taken as to economic cooperation with North Africa and that the matter was in any case to be regarded as strictly confidential.