881.00/2060: Telegram

The Chargé at Tangier (Childs) to the Secretary of State

361. My 356, November 22 [21], 8 [4] p.m. In view of the importance to us of Morocco it is believed that despite the setback occasioned [Page 475]our position by the events of the past few days everything possible should be done to salvage as much as can be preserved of the economic aid program. It is suggested that at least we endeavor to maintain our contact with Morocco through perhaps a modified program applicable to the French Protectorate or if need be a more restricted and hand to mouth basis.

Russell24 and King25 have been spending the weekend in Tangier and we and all of our officers in Morocco feel that there is much to be gained by continuing our program as long as possible.

It is true that it has been said of General Noguès26 that he is an opportunist and time server who sacrifices his subordinates to maintain his own position and that he is a man without any strong fixed principles. It must be remembered, however, that Noguès took a very advanced position in favor of a continuance of French resistance from the French colonial empire in June 1940, a fact which does not appear to have been reported adequately to the Department at the time.

In all my talks with him since my arrival in Morocco I have never found the least suggestion of any anti-Allied sentiment. In these conversations Noguès has shown himself always discreet but also unmistakably friendly disposed toward the democratic cause. If he has shown himself an opportunist it can only be said that faced with the necessity of composing the conflicting interests confronting him he has shown himself skillful and dexterous in maintaining himself for 18 months in his position, as any man would have had to do in his place.

It has been charged that he is both a politician and a soldier but no one who was not a consummate politician could have survived the storms of the past year as he has. Noguès is an old Moroccan who is passionately devoted to this country if he can be said to have any passion. He was trained by Lyautey27 and the disintegration of Morocco would mean the loss of his life work. He retains the great respect of the Sultan and the natives as possibly no French administrator has since Lyautey and it is this strong bond with the native population which has preserved his situation so long with Vichy. I obviously do not know what his feelings are at present but I believe it may be safely said that he would be willing to take any reasonable risks to safeguard France’s position in Morocco.

Repeated to Vichy, Algiers and Casablanca.

  1. Harry Earle Russell, Consul General at Casablanca.
  2. David W. King, Vice Consul at Casablanca.
  3. Gen. Albert Noguès, Resident General in the French Zone of Morocco.
  4. Marshal Louis Hubert Gonsalve Lyautey, Resident General in the French Zone of Morocco, 1912–25.