651.71/2–151: Telegram

The Chargé in France ( Bonsal ) to the Department of State 1


4553. As result of persistent questioning Foreign Office informed us that Juin before leaving for Washington had been rough with Sultan and had indeed threatened him with forced abdication or even deposition if Sultan not prepared to make declaration denouncing terrorist “Fascist” methods of Istiqlal, remove certain anti-French members of entourage and stop stalling on reforms which French wish to initiate with view to democratizing regime.

In defending Juin’s use of threat to Sultan, La Tour du Pin referred to Resident General’s original instructions on assuming office whereby he was given authority to consider eventual removal of Sultan if latter became too obstreperous. Former Resident Generals Puaux and Labonne had been forced out according to La Tour du Pin at instigation of Sultan and evidently Juin was unwilling to accept post without first being assured he would not suffer same fate. We were told that removal of Moulay Abdel Hafid by Lyautey in 1912 was precedent for any similar action which French might care to take. In case of present Sultan we were reminded that he had been Lyautey’s choice and therefore French creation.

[Page 1370]

After this explanation La Tour du Pin assured us that Juin’s menacing attitude to Sultan was only intended to bring latter to reason and get him to fulfill those measures referred to in first paragraph which are deemed necessary by French. The Sultan is reported to have requested Juin’s demands in writing from De Blesson day after General’s departure and to have intimated that once received he would accede to them. This “astute move to permit Sultan to seek confirmation of Juin’s requests from government in Paris” was refused. In this connection Embassy was informed by Lagxhaoui, expelled member of Moroccan Government Council, who is now in Paris that Sultan is nonetheless writing President Auriol for clarification. La Tour du Pin discounted possibility of Sultan’s removal because:

Sultan would probably accede to French requests;
Removal would create even worse situation than deposing of Moncef Bey in Tunisia for Sultan still young man and could create turmoil many more years than aged Moncef did;
French Government would have to decide question and Socialists, MRP’s and other political parties would doubtless oppose (Embassy knows that certain Socialists have been critical of Juin’s actions and government’s handling of situation).

In any case no action will be taken according to Foreign Office until return of Juin who will consult with government in Paris before going to Rabat.

At his request Lagxhaoui gave Embassy account of situation closely paralleling accounts given Tangier and Rabat by nationalists and proposed following three points which he thought would restore calm in Morocco:

Official denial by Foreign Office that removal Sultan envisaged.
Naming new Resident General who would not as Juin have other functions. Juin’s future connections with SHAPE he insisted implied to average Moroccan that his acts had full approval US.
New Resident General preferably civilian should be authorized institute immediate freedom of press and Moroccan trade unions.

Once crisis over Lagxhaoui believed French and Moroccans could proceed work out acceptable modus vivendi.

At Lagxhaoui’s suggestion his views were reported to La Tour du Pin who found them to be reasonable. However, Foreign Office could not make communiqué he stated which would cause Juin lose face and would do nothing until General’s return. He added that second point would be taken care of when Juin resigns post Morocco probably in June. Point three La Tour du Pin said was already favorably considered by Foreign Office.

We informed La Tour du Pin that we were following situation closely and with concern lest worsening of relations between Sultan and French administration lead to disorder and violence in Morocco. [Page 1371] While realizing that problem was one between French and Moroccans we expressed hope that conciliatory attitude would prevail and that good relations would be quickly re-established between French administration and Maghzen. La Tour du Pin was confident that difficulties would be ironed out within few weeks.

  1. Repeated to Tangier.