880.00/5–748: Telegram

The Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier (Plitt) to the Secretary of State

top secret


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Brief comments follow order listed Deptel 100.1

No concrete results so far evident from so-called change French policy in Morocco. Setting up Moroccan General Council with only rubber stamp authority no solution.
So long as Resident General2 surrounded by non-constructive advisors believe general entente between French and Nationalists impossible. Nationalists pending achievement their objective, prefer men who not only adhere to both letter and spirit treaty offer but show more comprehensive and conciliatory attitude toward Sultan whose prestige seems increasing. Unless definite time limit set by French for Moroccans achieve autonomy, any proposals looking toward Libyan independence likely to arouse Moroccans’ resentment and increase demands for their independence now.
Neither British nor Italians being in favor with Moslems, Arab morale and American prestige might be served best by support or eventually by an independence via time-limited trusteeship under Arab League Egyptian aegis. While Arabs would probably prefer American trusteeship, we should hesitate undertaking it because of invidious comparisons French can be expected to make of any trusteeship with their own long-established North African regimes, and likelihood of any regime, no matter how well-intentioned and applied becoming scapegoat of malevolent criticism if unable conciliate conflicting Arab and other interests. French control of Fezzan likely arouse not only resentment among Arabs but add to their suspicion French motives in her other North African possessions.
See 3.
Mahdi Bennouna expected to present again to United Nations Moroccan case similar to last year unless there is decided change in policy of Presidency General effectively furthering Nationalist aim. While I do not believe that Morocco is ready for independence and French Protectorate is in principle in best interests Moroccans, our support of French in General Assembly discussions of Moroccan case should be made contingent upon firm and effective assurance from French that schools, hospitals, housing and other social improvements commensurate with needs eight million people will be met scrupulously with least possible delay.

Sent Department 101, repeated Paris 10, Algiers 5, Tunis 4, Cairo 4, London 2, Rabat 3, Casablanca 4.

  1. Circular telegram of April 29, p. 689.
  2. Gen. Alphonse Pierre Juin, Resident General of France in Morocco.