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US - Moroccan Shared History
The official US-Morocco friendship has continued unbroken since 1777 when Morocco was the first nation to recognize
U.S. Independence by opening its ports to the US. George Washington expressed his gratitude in the letter below. A
Friendship Treaty was signed in 1786 by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Sultan Muhammad III. During World War
II, Operation Torch was the 1942 British and American invasion in the North African campaign against the Nazi
controlled French colonial regime. Meanwhile, Moroccan Jews were protected from the Nazis by Sultan Mohamed V.
The Tangier American Legation Institute in Tangier contains the only historic landmark of the United States located
abroad as designated by the U. S. Department of the Interior. In the 1950s, President Eisenhower said of Morocco,
“They will be our stout and strong partners for peace and friendship in freedom.” More recently, the U.S.and Morocco
signed a free trade agreement in 2004.
Letter from George Washington to
Muhammed Ibn Abdullah - Sultan of Morocco
City of New York December 1, 1789
Great and Magnanimous Friend,
Since the date of the letter which the late Congress, by their President, addressed to your Imperial Majesty, The United
States of America have thought proper to change their government and institute a new one, agreeable to the
Constitution, of which I have the honor, herewith, to enclose a copy. The time necessarily employed in the arduous
task, and the disarrangements occasioned by so great though peaceable a revolution, will apologize, and account for
your Majesty’s not having received those regularly advised marks of attention from the United States which the
friendship and magnanimity of your conduct toward them afforded reason to expect.
The United States, having unanimously appointed me to supreme executive authority in this Nation. Your Majesty’s
letter of August 17, 1788, which by reason of the dissolution of the late-government, remained unanswered, has been
delivered to me. I have also received the letters which Your Imperial Majesty has been so kind as to write, in favor of
the United States, to the Bashaws of Tunis and Tripoli, and I present to you the sincere acknowledgements and thanks
of the United States for this important mark of your friendship for them.
We greatly regret the hostile disposition of those regencies toward this nation, who have never injured them, is not to
be removed, on terms of our power to comply with.
Within our territories there are no mines, wither of gold or silver, and this young nation just recovering from the waste
and dissolution of a long war, have not, as yet, had time to acquire riches by agriculture and commerce. But our soil is
bountiful, and our people industrious, and we have reason to flatter ourselves that we shall gradually become
useful to our friends.
The encouragement which Your Majesty has been pleased, generously, to give to our commerce with your dominions,
the punctuality with which you have caused the Treaty with us to be observed, and the just and generous measures
taken in the case of Captain Proctor, make a deep impression on the United States and confirm their
respect for and attachment to Your Imperial Majesty.
It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity of assuring Your Majesty that, while I remain at the head of this
nation, I shall not cease to promote every measure that may conduce to the friendship and harmony which so happily
subsist between your Empire and them, and shall esteem myself happy in every occasion of convincing Your
Majesty of the high sense (which in common with the whole nation) I entertain the magnanimity, wisdom and
benevolence of Your Majesty.
May the Almighty bless Your Imperial Majesty, our Great and Magnanimous friend, with His constant guidance and
- George Washington
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