881.00/2737: Telegram

The Consul at Rabat (Mayer) to the Secretary of State

1. Nationalists yesterday presented to the Sultan a memorial calling for Moroccan independence under Sultan, adherence to Atlantic Charter and representation at Peace Conference. Although probably [Page 532] not more than handful of natives have any hope of or desire for independence there is reason to believe that not only Nationalists but also members of Sultan’s entourage think time may be ripe to obtain a change in Morocco’s status. Their concepts of what new status might be have not crystalized but [garbled group] whether American Protectorate or of condominium of several powers including U.S.A. and Great Britain are among the possibilities contemplated.

How far movement will develop will depend probably upon the Sultan who has not yet made known his views.… The attitude he will adopt depends probably upon his estimate of how much support and sympathy he may be able to gain in Great Britain and more especially in the United States.

Although movement has little if any popular support, its leaders may promote popular unrest by playing upon general dissatisfaction over French authorities’ policy of compelling natives to dispose of their stocks of grain, wool and other produce for benefit of liberated areas—a policy we have strongly endorsed. Moroccans take no pride in contributing to war effort by being deprived not only of imported consumer goods such as textiles, sugar and tea but also of the commodities they produce.

In conversing with Moroccans I have expressed personal opinion that the United States would not wish to enter into any political commitments involving Morocco; that this is not opportune moment to agitate question of change in Morocco’s status; that American Government and people could not look with favor on political movement which would tend to detract from war effort, and that broad changes may be anticipated after the war in concepts of administration of colonies and protectorates. The example of the Lebanon is, however, an incitation to press for immediate consideration of revision of Morocco’s status, especially since many Moroccans believe Great Britain and particularly the United States will support their aspirations.

If Department wants to nip in bud this movement before it could reach serious proportions, I respectfully suggest desirability of official pronouncement to the effect that American Government cannot look with favor upon political movements in areas associated in war effort which might hamper progress of war.

Background on the foregoing will be found in my A–2, January 5, 1944. As is implied herein, I take a more serious view of situation now than then.

Repeated to Algiers and Tangier; true readings to Casablanca and Tunis.