The Chief of the Division of African Affairs
(Villard) to the Acting Secretary of State
4191. From Villard.
American delegation met with Peake and Meyrier for another informal conference.
Meyrier handed Peake a note in reply to British note of July 92 in which it was stated that proposed adjournment of conference to an indeterminate date would gravely prejudice French and Sherifian interests. It added that no question of principle could be opposed to participation in conversations either of USSR or USA as the convention of 1923 envisaged the adherence of all the powers signatories of the Act of Algeciras. Accordingly the sole difficulty would arise from one or the other of those powers considering the participation reserved to it by the 1923 statute as insufficient. French Govt proposed therefore to undertake without delay to obtain views of American and Soviet Govts and suggested July 16 as an official date for opening of conference between representatives of four powers. Should British Govt persist in thinking conference should be postponed, it would then be necessary for the French Govt to seek through diplomatic channels the views of American and Soviet Govts concerning USSR participation of [in] Tangier administration, British Govt being kept informed. Should the four powers encounter in their eventual representations at Madrid a rejection of them on [or?] dilatory maneuvers “the French Govt would envisage with a view to reaching a rapid solution either coercive action by four powers or recourse to Article 54 of convention of 1923”.
Peake stated his Govt was prepared to accept inclusion of the Russians in the discussions[,] that it had no opposition to French making a communication to that effect without delay to USSR but British Govt desired on its side to make a communication on subject to Russians at Big Three meeting in Berlin. He explained British desired at such a time to indicate to USSR certain conferences to which the British and French had not been invited in which it considered British and French participation desirable. As no communication of this character could be made until Eden had seen Churchill, the British Govt desired to postpone Tangier conference until the first week in August when discussions could be resumed with inclusion of USSR. Peake assured Meyrier there would be no discussion [Page 1005] by British with Russians at Berlin of Tangier other than question of their participation.
Meyrier stated that if British Ambassador3 could make verbally to Bidault the assurances given him (Meyrier) by Peake, he thought the French Govt would be agreeable to postponement suggested. French Govt would then be enable[d] to make an appropriate official statement which would relieve it from the great pressure of public opinion both in France and Morocco where the demand particularly on the part of the Sultan for quick settlement was very insistent. Peake thought there would be no difficulty in this and further developments are expected today.
Peake also gave Meyrier official assurances that it was no part of British purposes to diminish prestige or authority of the Sultan of [or?] Sherifian interests in Tangier. Peake said he did not believe the British and French viewpoints were very far apart. Meyrier seemed very much encouraged and expressed a like viewpoint stating he did not anticipate any serious difficulties in the reaching of an agreement between American, French and British representatives. We all agreed that real stumbling block might arise from the as-yet-undisclosed Russian attitude toward Spanish participation in the administration.
If we can continue to make progress here as we have done by informal contact with the French and British we propose to remain in Paris for time being. If it appears that nothing can be accomplished until early in August, I would then proceed to London for talks with the Colonial Office and go from there to Morocco. Dempster might return to Tangier until August. The Dept might find (sent Dept 4191, rptd Tangier 18, London 514, Madrid 261) it desirable in that case to have Childs proceed to Washington for consultation and for him to return in time for resumption of discussions.