851r.00B/1–3047: Telegram

The Diplomatic Agent at Tangier (Alling) to the Secretary of State


27. During my brief visit to Algiers and Tunis I formed following impressions:

In all three North African countries under French control one observes same pattern of Communist penetration through attempts to flirt with and give apparent support to local nationalist groups. This support takes form of advocating in Communist-controlled press and by other means independence and self-government.
Communism is naturally repugnant to practicing Moslems, but I have no doubt that some Nationalists have been taken in by apparent Communist support. On other hand some Nationalist leaders are willing accept such support on theory that once having obtained independence, they can disembarrass themselves of Communist connection. By far greatest number of Nationalists, however, reject any association with Communism.
Some French and native officials believe that Communist influence in North Africa is waning, and this view is shared by some American officials. For example, the Grand Vizir of Tunisia, who recently returned from pilgrimage to Mecca, told me that many Moslems had been shocked by what they had heard from Soviet pilgrims in regard to treatment of Islam in USSR. Governor General of Algeria had heard similar reports from returning pilgrims. Apparently this news is being spread in Islamic circles and is having an effect.
I asked both the Acting Resident of Tunisia and the Governor General of Algeria what they would expect happen North Africa in event Communist Government in France. Both replied that they need not consider such a contingency since it would never happen.
This may be wishful thinking but they are apparently sincere and it is on this basis that they are administering their territories.
I was surprised to learn relatively small staff Soviet Consulate Algiers. Governor General stated, however, that he was not fully informed their activities. On the surface they appear do little.
In general my impressions are that best means of preventing Communism North Africa are for French accelerate tempo by which they are liberalizing various régimes this area. Although Arabs here are naturally friendly our country, I do not entirely discount possibility that if French hold them in check too tightly or too long, nationalists may reluctantly accept aid from Communist sources in mistaken idea that course would give them real freedom. In my opinion it is in interest France and US that progress toward self-government be quickened.

Repeated to Paris as 3.