711.56371A/12–1750: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State

top secret

3479. Please pass immediately Navy for CNO and Air Force for McCone. This message transmits proposed text Port Lyautey agreement. Subsequent message will contain Air Force Moroccan bases agreement which though of necessity differently organized since Air Force must cover certain matters covered for Navy in 1947 agreement exactly parallels Lyautey agreement wherever applicable.

Please note that paragraph 9 reference customs exemption is subject to modification and possibly even reduction to “best efforts” clause depend results further Foreign Office and Treasury exploration as well as previously reported. Secondly, we have tentatively agreed that duration of agreement as established paragraph 3 will be adjusted by exchange of notes so to conform with whatever shorter period, if any, NATO Council may recommend in blanket “facilities interchange” resolution still under consideration by deputies; Text follows:

The Government of the USA and the Government of the French Republic having agreed to enlarge the naval and air installations of the US Navy at Port Lyautey in order to facilitate the common defense within the framework of the North Atlantic Pact, agree to complement the technical agreement of 15 September 1947, relative to this base in order to permit new construction and an increased use of facilities.1
The technical agreements to be made in implementation of this agreement will be worked out by the navies of the two countries. The terms of the present agreement which may be in conflict with the terms [Page 1765] of the agreement of 15 September 1947 shall prevail. Cases of disagreement will be submitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy.
The present agreement will remain in effect during the period of the validity of the North Atlantic Treaty, unless the two governments decide beforehand to terminate it by mutual consent, such decision being particularly appropriate upon advice of the North Atlantic Council.
In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have affixed their signatures and seals to the present agreement.

Done in duplicate in English and French, the two texts equally valid. At Paris December—, 1950.

Annex I

Financing mid implementation.

The French Government shall put at the disposition of the US Navy without giving rise to costs or compensations the necessary areas for the carrying out of the contemplated works at Port Lyautey. These areas as well as the fixed properties which are there or which may be constructed there shall remain under all circumstances the property of the French Government and as such will be under the administration of the appropriate French governmental agency subject to use and occupancy arrangements for the duration of this agreement to be made between the US Navy and the French Navy in the technical agreements provided for in paragraph two (2) of the agreement to which this is attached as Annex I.
At the expiration of the present agreement or upon written notification by the US Navy of its relinquishment of the facilities contemplated by this agreement these areas as well as all installations and fixed improvements or other permanent improvements which shall be situated or constructed there shall be relinquished to the French Navy or shall revert to it in some other manner without giving rise to costs, rights or compensations. The US Navy will, however, have the right at all times to remove all supplies, equipment and provisions or other movable property belonging to the US which are at any time during the period of this agreement located in the areas in question; provided that no equipment essential to the operation or maintenance of the airport or seaplane base shall be removed prior to the expiration of this agreement without the agreement of the French Navy.
Due to the practical problems involved in the contemplated construction and financing thereof the US Navy will be responsible for the execution of and payment for the contemplated construction and [Page 1766] to this end will be permitted to use the services of an American principal contractor.
The construction will be carried out on the French state owned land in Morocco. The contract between the US Navy and principal American contractor will accordingly be signed or approved by the French Government. Such signature or approval will not involve any financial responsibility of the French Government but will be for the purpose of recording its authorization to undertake the construction.
The principal American contractor will preferably procure on Moroccan territory the goods and services necessary to the construction of the base, whenever these goods and services can be there obtained readily, and in required quantity and quality at prices not exceeding those obtainable elsewhere, it being understood that the latter will be calculated on a CIF basis, i.e., will include transportation costs.
A local French liaison mission attached to the central liaison mission in Paris will be established to aid and advise the American Navy or their representatives in the preparation of local contracts. This mission will have the following primary responsibilities:
It will act as intermediary between the principal American contractor and local subcontractors with whom the principal American contractor may deal if the latter does not execute the work itself. It will particularly see to it that French and Sheriffian laws and interests are respected. It will approve the choice of local subcontractors and in cases where competitive bidding is necessary it will have the right to disapprove any prospective local bidder. It will also approve before signing proposed contracts between the principal American contractor and a corporation or individual subject to the French or Sheriffian law.
The liaison mission may also if the principal American contractor agrees, give necessary instructions in order that any subcontracts contemplated in subparagraph “a” above may be signed jointly by the principal American contractor and the French service on the one hand and the local subcontractor on the other hand.
The principal American contractor and his representatives as well as all persons employed by him who are not members of the American armed forces will not benefit from the privileges granted to the members of said forces in the agreement dated 6 November 1950, (Annex I) but will be subject to local laws.2
In cases of emergency the principal American contractor may procure locally supplies, facilities and services which are required at the time, in accordance with a procedure to be agreed upon between the chief of the French liaison mission and the principal American contractor.
The US Navy or the principal American contractor will be responsible for payment for work, goods, and services procured in Moroccan territory. Such payments will be made in conformity with Moroccan regulations, specifically so far as price and exchange control are concerned. A procedure will be worked out by agreement between the US Navy, the liaison mission, and the State Bank of Morocco to provide that payments to local subcontractors will be made by a bankers draft signed by the bank and delivered against receipts in the form required by applicable US Government regulations. Franc expenditures shall be covered by [apparent garble] an account opened at the State Bank of Morocco maintained as stipulated by the Moroccan exchange regulations; moreover it is understood that the principal American contractor will submit to the French liaison mission copies of the periodical accounting and supporting documents which it will submit to the US Navy Department in connection with its reimbursement for the work done in Morocco for the construction of the Port Lyautey base.
No import, excise, consumption or other tax or duty shall be charged on material, equipment, supplies or goods including food stores and clothing for exclusive use in the construction, maintenance or operation of the base covered by this agreement consigned to or destined for the US authorities or any contractor engaged in such construction, maintenance or operation and certified by the US to be for such purposes.
The US Navy will request the principal American contractor to engage the services of a French or Moroccan legal advisor approved by the French Protectorate authorities.

Annex II


A technical agreement between the American naval authorities and the competent French naval authority will determine the modifications of the provisions of the agreement of 15 September 1947 concerning the establishment and use of radio facilities of the aero-naval base at Port Lyautey which the execution of the works, the increase of air traffic or other causes might render necessary.

[Page 1768]

Annex III

Base operations.

The technical agreement to be entered into between the US Navy and the French Navy shall explicitly set forth that the airport and seaplane base shall remain under the French flag and command, and that local air traffic control will remain the responsibility of the French authorities. The movements of formations of combat aircraft will be subject to prior notification by the American naval commanding officer at Port Lyautey to the French airbase commander at Port Lyautey, in accordance with a procedure to be determined between the two navies. The French Navy will be responsible for the safeguarding of naval installations at Port Lyautey as a whole. The US Navy, on the other hand, will be responsible for internal security in the areas or enclosures occupied by it. Each navy shall maintain and repair the buildings and facilities which it occupies or uses exclusively. The cost of operating and maintaining the facilities mutually used at the base at Port Lyautey will be equitably divided in accordance with a formula to be set forth in a technical agreement. End text.

Service representatives concur in recommending urgent approval of Departments Defense and State and authority Ambassador to sign both agreements.3

Repeated information Wiesbaden for CINCAFE 16, London for CINCNELM 850.

  1. With the signature of the Line of Communication Agreement in Paris on November 6 between representatives of the United States and France, efforts were initiated to reach agreement with France regarding U.S. military projects in Morocco. (Telegram 2623, from Paris, November 10, 711.56371/11–1050)
  2. The Department of State desired that the last seven words of paragraph 6 be omitted since it was feared that they would abrogate U.S. treaty rights as applied to American contractors. If the omitted words were not agreed to by the French, then the Department recommended that an agreed minute be exchanged at the time of the signing making the positions of the two governments clear on this issue. (Memorandum of conversation by Raymond T. Yingling, December 20, 711.56371A/12–2050).
  3. In telegram 3334, to Paris, December 19, the Department of State informed the Embassy in Paris that the Air Force, Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Department of State concurred in the texts of the agreements as transmitted in telegrams 3479 and 3480 from Paris, December 17, and gave the Embassy authority to sign the agreements. The Department of State qualified its concurrence pending amendment of paragraph 6 as discussed in the preceding footnote. (711.56371/12–1950) The two agreements were signed in Paris on December 22 according to telegram 3590, from Paris, December 22. (711.56371/12–2250)