740.0011 European War 1939/16883: Telegram

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

365. My telegrams 36028 and 361 of November 24. I have just received by courier from the Consulate in Casablanca the following memorandum left with the Consulate by Pierre Lyautey28a with the request that it be transmitted to me. In its covering communication, the Consulate states that Lyautey had said that his suggestions arise from conversation he has had with Resident General Noguès’ secretary, General Voizard, and General Juin since the retirement of General Weygand. Following is translation of the memorandum:

[“]This note will give you my point of view subject to the development of events now taking place in the Libyan offensive.

I naturally reason as a Moroccan and accordingly I have always been opposed to a military policy in North Africa and to a Pro-Consulate in Algiers. Morocco is an Empire with a Sultan who is a religious and temporal head, and with a population proud of its history. That will always be the great political mainspring.

The Weygand–Murphy accord29 had the incontestable advantage of assuring to the United States the publicity which they had never had in Africa. More than the small amount of merchandise sent, the presence of the consuls and their automobiles—today the only sign of force in Islam—has established American prestige.

The disappearance of the Pro-Consulate of Algiers which was doomed from its birth does not modify to my mind the essential and fundamental facts of the problem, namely, that the Atlantic shores of Africa are a commercial advance guard and tomorrow will be a military fortress for the operations which will permit the driving of the Germans from Africa, Italy and France.

A policy based on so much reality ought not to be eliminated by the sole fact of the disappearance of one man. If General Weygand had had the airplane accident of General Huntziger,30 would the policy of the accord have been terminated?

The nomination of General Juin, former collaborator of Marshal Lyautey and future Minister of War, signifies that France intends to reserve Africa for the Africans.

General Noguès was somewhat hurt at having been left outside the accord by General Weygand and by Monick,31 to speak only of the French.

Advantage should be taken of the suspension to resume most discreetly the conversations in choosing the day of an Anglo-American success in Libya and in letting it be understood that in these conversations the consideration of every political aspect is adjourned in order [Page 477]to facilitate the task of the Resident General with the German commissions.

The Residency General has always let it be understood that if it had been alone in negotiation, the commercial accord untrammelled by the inevitable publicity due to the signature of a universally known soldier, it would have been at the same time more discreet and more fruitful. By being more discreet the cotton goods would have arrived in larger numbers and would have on the other hand exercised a profound influence upon the native Moslems.

If Washington were to throw away this card it would give to Berlin too easily acquired advantages. The Reich got Weygand it is true but it should not be allowed to exploit this success in its lesser consequences.

So long as American diplomacy is present in Morocco it should play all of its trump cards, letting the population understand that there is no question, by its departure of delivering it to Germany, bound hand and foot and to leave the Residency General to drop the mask and to play an open and aboveboard game. Algiers is dead, long live Rabat. This is the language which must be used. The guarantees are moreover inevitably connected with the natural consequence of the existing fact.

In taking into account these psychological considerations the diplomacy of the United States will be guided by the fact that a people should not be left without a counterweight and that its conduct in the future will be influenced by the feeling of never having been abandoned by America.

Surely one can speculate upon the instinctive reactions due to hunger, misery and external trouble, the preludes of an Anglo-American expedition. But from the practical point of view the hypothesis is premature as a German air expedition is more probable. One should follow up therefore with patience the work so well begun.

If the sentiments of this note are shared it would be easy to appreciate the conditions in which the negotiations should be opened. But it would appear above all to be indispensable not to leave to the men here in the government the feeling of an American abandonment and therefore of the success of a German Eur-African policy. Even if only on questions of detail, the conversations should be resumed immediately.”

As the Department is aware the Lyautey above mentioned is a nephew of Marshal Lyautey and has had as such very close relations with Morocco.

Repeated to Algiers; by courier to Casablanca.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Nephew of Marshal Lyautey.
  3. See telegram No. 249, February 28, 10 a.m., from the Ambassador in France, p. 226.
  4. Gen. Charles Léon Huntziger, late French Secretary of State for War.
  5. Emmanuel Monick, former Secretary General, French Zone of Morocco.