881.00/2780: Telegram

The Acting American Representative to the French Committee of National Liberation at Algiers (Chapin) to the Secretary of State

358. Massigli48 who, as the Department may be aware, has recently returned from Morocco, informed me last night that the situation in Morocco had eased considerably and that in the light of the assurances given him personally by the Sultan he felt confident that situation was well in hand and that no further serious trouble would occur. He added that there was ample proof that German instigation had played a part in the recent disturbances and that a number of the principal Nationalists were unquestionably in German pay. Unfortunately the French police had lost the trail in Oran of the principal agent (a notorious German) before authorities were ready to spring the trap but they still hoped to pick him up.

Although gravity of situation in Morocco had not been generally known outside of Morocco, through an oversight a Reuters article passed Allied military censorship last night with result that although now the situation has calmed down it has been seized upon by German radio.

It is not clear from Department’s telegram No. 6 of January 31, 8 p.m. to Rabat whether Department wishes me to present the views expressed therein to Massigli. While it would probably have a good effect generally upon our relations with the Committee it is not impossible that the French would use even such an oral statement to bolster their position. In this connection I was told by Duff Cooper49 this morning that Puaux claimed that British Prime Minister50 had made similar statements to him before his departure. Since French officials have apparently given some surreptitious publicity to this [Page 539] alleged statement question was raised by British, consular officials in Morocco whether statement should be confirmed or denied. It was decided here that no action should be taken.

If Department wishes me to present views expressed in telegram under reference to Massigli and because of possible French and British reaction I request clarification of penultimate sentence in paragraph 3 which as received here differentiates between our attitude toward Lebanese and Moroccan independence movements only on grounds of United States military expediency.

Sent to Department as 358, repeated to Rabat as 1.

  1. René Massigli, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of the French Committee of National Liberation.
  2. Alfred Duff Cooper, British Representative to the French Committee of National Liberation.
  3. Winston S. Churchill. Mr. Churchill had spent several days in Morocco convalescing after an illness following the Tehran and Cairo Conferences; for correspondence concerning these Conferences, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943.