The Consul at Rabat ( McBride ) to the Secretary of State 1

No. 147

Ref: Consulate’s 110, September 28, 19502

Subject: Memorandum taken by Sultan to Paris

Istiqlal sources have reported that, prior to his departure for France, the Sultan of Morocco had prepared a memorandum envisaging widespread political reforms in this country. These contacts have stated that, as has been previously reported, nationalist groups, including both the Istiqlal and Shoura Parties, were opposed to the [Page 1753] trip at the present time. However, when the Sultan overruled their advice not to leave Morocco, he agreed at the same time to present a paper outlining the desires of the Moroccan people. This document was drafted in the Palace at Rabat by members of the Sultan’s entourage, but was seen and approved by the nationalists, after certain amendments had been recommended and inserted in the text. What was worrying the Istiqlal was whether His Majesty would really present this memorandum which represented their views. It would appear from Paris telegram 2124 of October 193 to the Department that he had at the last minute substituted something less far-reaching (and perhaps with a greater chance of being accepted at least partially by the French).

We have been promised the text of the original plea, which will be transmitted to the Department when obtained. It is indicated that it contained a proposal for the rapid liquidation of the Protectorate and the restoration of full Moroccan sovereignty. A continued treaty relationship with France was envisaged if the latter would promise now to meet the outstanding demands of the nationalists, but insisted that France might remain in Morocco only in the status of an adviser. It will be interesting to compare the contents of the paper which the Sultan had informed the nationalists he would present, with the requests which he actually made.

Unless of course some substantial concessions such as permitting Moroccan labor unions or carrying out a sincere educational reform plan are made the result of the trip will be a loss of prestige for the Sultan with the Moroccan people.

Robert H. McBride
  1. Copies sent to Paris and Tangier.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Supra.