The Moroccan Problem

June 30, 1925

Report Outline
History of Moroccan Problem
The Future of Morocco

The struggle for French supremacy in Morocco has been in progress for twenty-five years and has now reached an acute stage. For the past two months the French army in Morocco has been subjected to serious attack over a wide front by the Riffian tribesmen of Northern Morocco. Soon after assuming office in April, the Painleve government was confronted with this serious situation. The unpopularity of the war in France and the desire on the part of the Chamber of Deputies to avoid a long and expensive war, confirmed Premier Painleve in his expressed determination that the war should remain a defensive one and that negotiations for peace without loss of prestige to France should begin as soon as possible.

The increasing fury of the Riffian attack, however, forced M. Painleve to visit Morocco and confer with the French Commander-in-Chief, Marshal Lyautey. As a result of this visit, M. Painleve, on his return to Paris, announced that a more vigorous prosecution of the war was necessary and stated his decision to increase the strength of the French army in Morocco and to make every effort to force an early military conclusion to the war. In spite of the stormy opposition of the Communists, this policy was endorsed by the Chamber. It is yet too early for the effects of this new policy to be felt at the front and meanwhile, according to the latest reports, the Riffians are advancing with unabated energy and have approached to within twenty-seven miles of the city of Fez.

French Effort to Control Morocco

The French struggle to gain control over Morocco may be conveniently divided into two periods: from 1900 to 1912 and from 1913 to 1925. During the first period the French were struggling to procure the consent of the various interested European powers to a French Protectorate over Morocco. This period was marked by great friction between the Powers and especially between France and Germany. Twice during this period, in 1905 and 1911, the peace of Europe was seriously menaced by German efforts to prevent the French absorption of Morocco. France, however, having successively satisfied the claims of Italy, Spain and England, was able in 1912 to conclude an agreement with Germany whereby that country agreed to a French Protectorate over Morocco in return for certain substantial concessions in the French Congo.

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