771.13/2–251: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation at Tangier 1

top secret

260. Ref Deptel 254, Jan 31, rptd Rabat 45, Paris 4002.2 McGhee discussed Moroccan situation with General Juin and reps Fr Emb Jan 31.3 Juin strongly defended Fr policy Morocco. Highly critical Sultan and particularly Istiqlal and said Sultan must denounce Istiqlal or go.

McGhee told Juin US concerned over Morocco situation and hopes stability can be maintained there. Also US concerned over Juin’s demand Sultan renounce Istiqlal since demand places Sultan in untenable position. Juin replied firmly Sultan must condemn Istiqlal methods or people will throw him out.

McGhee expressed hope Sultan wld not be deposed. Referring to Arab League reps re Fr policy Morocco McGhee said US wld be greatly embarrassed if matter raised in UN because it cld not assure support for Fr if Fr takes arbitrary action. McGhee said US favors policy of evolutionary development of peoples in dependent areas and expressed hope Fr and Sultan cld reconcile their differences and collaborate to mutual advantage. Juin gave impression he is absolutely uncompromising towards Istiqlal party and Sultan. Mtg was friendly and McGhee endeavored to convey tactfully to Juin our views re Fr policy in Morocco.

To prevent misunderstanding however fol is Dept’s position:

US does not fully subscribe Fr policies Morocco and Juin does not have our unqualified support on any action he may take there. If statements to contrary made to Sultan or others in North Africa US will be forced deny them.
US concerned over threat to stability if arbitrary action taken force Sultan’s removal.
If action taken by Fr depose Sultan, US will disassociate itself from such action and may be forced so state publicly.
If any such action taken by Fr results in matter being raised in UN the US will not support Fr.
Although US does not advocate immed independence for North Africans US favors policy evolutionary development peoples in dependent areas.

US hopes efforts will be made by Fr reconcile differences bet Fr and Sultan in order avoid open break resulting in trouble in Morocco and embarrassing Fr and US at critical time when unity bet NATO allies shld be promoted.

Emb Paris and Leg Tangier or at discretion Min, Consul at Rabat4 instructed convey these points immed to FonOff and Residency respectively. Fr Emb here also being informed today this position.

Re question asylum see Hackworth, Vol II Sec 191 (particularly first Sec page 622) and Paras 192 and 193 for statement general US policy this subj.

Right of asylum or sanctuary never recognized by US as principle of internatl law. On contrary, US has strongly disapproved principle of asylum as such and declined recognize or subscribe to it as part of internatl law. It has, however, on occasion sanctioned granting temp refuge by Amer dipl and cons missions when affording such refuge seemed be necessary for preservation human life. Only when local govt becomes unable assure safety refugee, and his life consequently endangered through mob violence or other lawlessness, may protection be granted.

Dept examined ltrs addressed Sultan by Pres Roosevelt in 19435 and does not consider they constitute US commitment protect Sultan and family.

Dept suggests you convey fol to Sultan through whatever channels you consider appropriate:

Re Asylum: Explain gen US policy on right of asylum as set forth above and explain this Govt does not consider Roosevelt ltrs as guarantee protection or as having been intended guarantee protection Sultan and family. Such undertaking wld be contrary estab US Govt principle and policy throughout its history. Our ans to Sultan on this point shld be couched in terms calculated discourage him from requesting asylum from this Govt.
However, Dept genuinely concerned over recent reports from Morocco and therefore McGhee saw Juin and urged upon him necessity for moderation in dealing with Moroccan problem and expressed hope Fr will follow evolutionary policy there.
Re Rabat’s tel 87 Jan 31.6 At request McGhee, Juin indicated willingness inform Sultan USAF program Morocco, telling him US had requested this be done.
Dept was pleased learn Sultan plans take moderate line with Juin on his return Rabat. Dept hopes it will be possible for Sultan reconcile differences with Fr and thus avoid open break at this critical time. Course of moderation also being urged on Fr officials in Wash and Paris.

  1. This telegram, which was drafted by Bourgerie and cleared by McGhee, Berry, Matthews, and Bonbright, was repeated to Paris, London, Rabat, and Casablanca.
  2. Not printed; it reported that McGhee would discuss Moroccan developments with General Juin on January 31. (771.00/1–3051)
  3. A memorandum of McGhee’s conversation with General Juin is in file 771.00/1–3151.
  4. Robert McBride.
  5. The letters under reference here cannot be further identified. Sultan Mohammed ben Youssef dined with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Casablanca, Morocco on the evening of January 22, 1943 during the American-British wartime Casablanca Conference, January 14–24, 1943. No official record of the discussion at the dinner was found, but evidence indicates that President Roosevelt spoke of American sympathy for Moroccan independence and the expectation of postwar American-Moroccan economic cooperation. Aspects of the American attitude toward postwar Morocco were taken up in a January 23 meeting between Presidential adviser Harry Hopkins and Moroccan Grand Vizier Mohammed el Mokhri at Casablanca. Regarding these two meetings, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Washington, 1941–1942, and Casablanca, 1943, pp. 692–693 and 702–704.
  6. Not printed; it reported inter alia that the Sultan would publicly offer the use of his country to the Atlantic Pact nations, but before making such a statement he wanted to be officially informed by the French of the initiation of a U.S. Air Force program for Morocco. (771.11/1–3151)