771.00/1–3151: Telegram

The Consul General at Tangier (Plitt) to the Department of State 2


266. French Consul General Tangier confidentially confirmed Resident General3 demanded Sultan4 denounce Nationalists and dismiss certain court personnel inimical French interests. He denied story of ultimatum having been given and expressed belief Sultan would accede Juin’s terms. As Consul General came to Legation tell me this, I naturally wonder how much left untold. Fact remains situation French Morocco becoming increasingly tense. Faiz [French?] protectorate authorities’ intransigence towards Americans on import controls question leaves little doubt extent their intransigence towards Sultan.

Allegations that Juin has full support US his “crack-down” on Sultan not conducive calming excited Nationalists and likely leave mark on our relations with Morocco. Nationalist leaders maintain US accord with residency’s policy being systematically spread throughout French Morocco by French agents. Sultan sent elder brother Moulay Hassan to Tangier yesterday get in touch Legation explain imperiled position Sultan and appeal US assistance. Allal el Fassi today told Legation officer French could not possibly take such strong stand against Sultan if they did not feel sure our support.

Sultan and Nationalists have undoubtedly seized present crisis invoke our effective support against French for their own ends and endeavoring involve us perhaps same extent as French are reported to be doing in claiming have our support. In these circumstances we must take into consideration that if Juin’s demands met, onus of blame likely placed on us by Nationalists. If Sultan forced abdicate, we shall innocently inherit even more blame not only from Moroccans but other Arab countries too. If Juin returns Morocco enforce his demands, [Page 1369] it will confirm in native mind that he has our full support as they convinced of connection between Juin’s plans for Morocco and his trip Washington. While delicacy any interference between French and Sultan fully realized, protection our interests would seem prescribe employment our good offices prevail French moderate their demands and have Juin adopt more conciliatory attitude. Sultan then in turn, could make some concessions French which might lead to temporarily easing relations as stopgap preparatory possible reconciliation with Juin’s eventual successor. According to Moulay Hassan Sultan prepared do this. A non-Spanish European source, usually well-informed opinions prevailing Spanish Zone, told Legation office Spanish officials there, exception Affaires Indigenes, feel Juin gone too far and reports Khalifa and entourage now very sympathetic Sultan.

No good envisaged present situation which if permitted worsen may seriously prejudice our position and military program Morocco. Efforts prevail on French change present attitude seem essential and I recommend them if not already undertaken result Legation and Rabat previous reports.

  1. Repeated to Paris, Casablanca, and Rabat.
  2. Gen. Pierre Alphonse Juin.
  3. Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef, Sultan V of Morocco.