Morocco-US Diplomatic Relations: 200th Anniversary Of American Legation In Tangier
The American Legation in Tangier is “the first diplomatic property acquired by the United States, and the oldest American diplomatic property in the world. It is also the only national historical landmark outside American territory."
David Greene, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Mission to Morocco, said that the American Legation in Tangier is “the first diplomatic property acquired by the United States, and the oldest American diplomatic property in the world. It is also the only national historical landmark outside American territory.”
Greene added, in a speech during a meeting organized yesterday Monday at the legation’s headquarters in Tangier, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the opening of this ancient building, that the American Legation became an official diplomatic mission of the United States, when the American Consul John Mullwany moved to the building which The Moroccan Sultan, Moulay Slimane, offered to the U.S. in 1821.
The American Legation in Tangiers, according to Greene, also witnessed “many important events in American, Moroccan and world history.” These events include negotiations on the Cape Spartel Lighthouse Treaty, one of the first international agreements signed by the United States, as well as agreements concluded with Morocco to facilitate maritime transport and trade.
It also served, during World War II, “as the headquarters for planning Allied operations in North Africa” and was used by “the United States Office of Special Services to decode Nazi codes. Being one of the first two American diplomatic missions that received the Marine Corps security guards, the commission was well known in the city for the presence of a permanent guard of the US Marines outside its entrance”, adds the Chargé d’Affaires.
The ceremony was attended by Nadia El Hnot, Director of Cooperation and Labor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African Cooperation, Moroccan Expatriates, Mohamed Mhidia, the Wali of Tangier-Tetouan, and John David, Director of the American Legation.
On this occasion, El Hnot praised the US-Moroccan relations which “struck in history for two centuries, beginning with Morocco’s recognition of the United States, the signing of the friendship treaty, and the gifting of this building by Sultan Moulay Slimane”.
El Hnot added that these strong relations “recently culminated in the United States’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara, in addition to the decision to open a consulate in Dakhla,” stating that the office’s functions shifted from “political and diplomatic”, to “cultural and educational”.
The ceremony witnessed a display of colors by the US Marines, accompanied at the end by the American and Moroccan national anthems.
It should be recalled that the American Legation was an American diplomatic mission from 1821 until the 1960s, when it became a school of diplomatic languages and then a training center for the Peace Corps. Since the 1970s, it has been operated as a museum, cultural center and research library by the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM).