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

No. 1963

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy and translation of a note dated January 24, 19447 addressed to the Legation by the Resident General of France in Morocco who proposes, subject to the Department’s consideration, that the American consular courts in the French Zone be instructed to deem automatically enforcible upon American ressortissants any decrees or regulations issued by the Protectorate authorities in execution of an enabling dahir of September 13, 1938 concerning the organization of the French Zone in time of war.

The Legation’s comments on this proposal are set forth in the form of a draft reply to the Resident General8 which, if approved by the Department and upon its instructions, is intended to be addressed to M. Gabriel Puaux.

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The Legation desires to add that even if, contrary to the conditions set forth in the enclosed draft note, it might be feasible to acquiesce in the Resident General’s suggestion, the Legation would strongly recommend abstention from such a concession, in as much as it would result in emasculation of our extraterritorial guarantees, veritable corner-stone of our treaty position in the Shereefian Empire. The Legation’s view is that in the interest of the influence of the United States in regard to post-war reconstruction, political and economic, in this part of the world, it is essential that no action should be taken at this time such as would diminish or prejudice the authority accruing to the United States from its actual treaty position in this country. This consideration, it is emphasized, suggested the terms of the Legation’s airgram A–25, February 8, 1944, in support of the tenor of Consul General Russell’s telegram of February 3 [4], 5 p.m., to the Department (no. 17 to Tangier) in reference to the extension to French Morocco of the reported decision of the Combined Food Commission at Algiers in regard to the total requisition of olive crops in North Africa.

It will be of interest to the Department to know that in a recent conversation with the French Protectorate authorities I was assured, in reply to my specific question on the subject, that those authorities had no complaint to make, or any inconveniences to register, from the normal delays required for the Department’s validation of decrees issued in French Morocco. There would therefore appear to be no grounds for the consideration of any departure from the actual policy or procedure in this connection. If the draft note herewith submitted in reply to the French Resident General’s suggestion is approved by the Department, the Legation will appreciate telegraphic instruction to that effect, in order that a speedy presentation of the note may remove any false expectations entertained in the premises by the Protectorate authorities.

The Department will note that a copy of this despatch is being made available, among other officers, to Consul General Russell in Casablanca, who is being requested to comment directly to the Department concerning a subject on which he has so extensive a practical background.9

Respectfully yours,

J. Rives Childs
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed; in instruction 167, March 30. the Department approved the draft; see the Chargé’s note of April 13 to the French Resident General, p. 516.
  3. In his despatch 1293, February 21, the Consul General at Casablanca transmitted a copy of a letter of February 8 which he had written to the Chargé at Tangier; the Consul General summed up his conclusions on the French request in the last paragraph: “… all these restrictive dahirs and decrees should be individually considered, and any that are accepted should be accompanied by rigid provisos that the restrictions must be regarded as war time measures, temporary in character, withdrawal at pleasure by our Government and imposable against American ressortissants only by the Consular Court and in the light of equity as well as the texts of the legislation.” (881.044/32.)