771.00/2–1451: Telegram

The Consul at Rabat (McBride) to the Department of State


95. Assistant Chief Civil Cabinet Soulie now unquestionably Juin’s top political adviser requested see me February 10 for frank purpose explaining Juin’s reasons for conviction we are mistaken in what he considers our policy towards Sultan. Visit was preceded by brief aide-memoire copy of which was sent to Tangier and text and translation of which follow by airmail. This document is in effect reply demarche made residency as instructed Deptel 47, February 21 though Soulie stressed it was informal. He indicated similar paper would be given Bruce in Paris. It is extreme statement French case and not overly convincing. However lengthy oral presentation made by Soulie exceptionally significant and will be covered in full by despatch. He said following represented entirely views Juin Moroccan situation and we must, I think, assume resident largely sincere therein.

It was stated Juin had come Morocco 1947 with specific authorization depose Sultan should he refuse cooperate. Since then despite French-inspired reforms such as establishment school administration and appointment Vizierial delegates to French Directorates Sultan has continually attacked French failure establish democracy Morocco. He has prevented establishment labor code, municipal organization and rural communal self government because refusal accept any provisions distasteful to him. Thus needed reforms which are 90% agreeable Moroccans stopped. Juin does not consider this negotiation. Recently sit down strike has been aggravated with much important legislation blocked including expropriation land needed US airbase [Page 1374] program. This coupled with Sultan’s open support Nationalist agitation led Juin on January 26 inform him French would no longer tolerate unjust denunciations French activity Morocco by Istiqlal and Nationalists must desist from troubling public order. Sultan further told unless he approved French sponsored reforms immediately, Juin would make public legislative log jam now existing and reasons therefor. Finally slight revamping Imperial Cabinet weed out outspoken anti-French elements required.

Soulie concluded French hoped for conciliatory attitude Sultan but not optimistic because evidences outside support from Socialists and Left Wing or [of?] MPR in France and Arab League as well as possible from US and UK Governments would stiffen him. Furthermore if he believed Juin bluffing he would certainly fail cooperate. Soulie stressed Juin most definitely not bluffing though French hoped deposition unnecessary as French interests throughout Moslem world would suffer thereby. He concluded deposition however more than strong possibility and if carried out would be for sake ultimate stability Morocco. He said Juin preferred eliminate possible rear guard opposition now rather than during war and utterly refused follow any line which might antagonize seriously Berber elements which supplied 3 to 4 divisions for Atlantic Pact Army while entire Arab League incapable furnishing 1 effective division. Last mentioned key point French argument which is that 75% Moroccans oppose Sultan and French will not risk alienating this important military element because of political fulminations Arabs Morocco or elsewhere.

  1. Same as telegram 260, supra.