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U.S.- Morocco Peace and Friendship Treaty

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC

Mr. CASEY. Mr. President: I would like to take this occasion to extend congratulations to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the people of Morocco on the 225th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Kingdom of Morocco.

Negotiations for this treaty began in 1783 and the draft was signed in 1786. Future Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the American signatories. The treaty was then presented to the Senate, which ratified it on July 18, 1787, making it the first treaty to receive U.S. Senate ratification.

The treaty represented the second time that Morocco and the United States affirmed diplomatic relations between the two countries. It is also worthy of mention that that Sultan, Mohammed III, was the first head of state, and Morocco the first country, to recognize the new United States as an independent country in 1777.

The Treaty of Peace and Friendship, whose anniversary we commemorate this month, provided for the United States' diplomatic representation in Morocco and open commerce at any Moroccan port on the basis of ``most favored nation.'' It also established the principle of non-hostility when either country was engaged in war with any other nation.

Most importantly, the treaty provided for the protection of U.S. shipping vessels at a time when American merchant ships were at risk of harassment by various European warships. The treaty specifically stated:

If any Vessel belonging to the United States shall be in any of the Ports of His Majesty's Dominions, or within Gunshot of his Forts, she shall he protected as much as possible and no Vessel whatever belonging either to Moorish or Christian Powers with whom the United States may be at War, shall be permitted to follow or engage her, as we now deem the Citizens of America our good Friends.

A further indication of the early and close relationship between the United States and Morocco can be seen in a letter President George Washington wrote to Sultan Mohammed III on December 1, 1789. President Washington wrote:

It gives me pleasure to have this opportunity of assuring your majesty that I shall not cease to promote every measure that may conduce to the friendship and harmony which so happily subsist between your empire and these ..... This young nation, just recovering from the waste and desolation of long war, has not, as yet, had time to acquire riches by agriculture or commerce. But our soil is beautiful, and our people industrious and we have reason to flatter ourselves that we shall gradually become useful to our friends.

United States relations with Morocco have strengthened in the decades and centuries following the historic treaty. For example, during World War I, Morocco was aligned with the Allied forces, and in 1917 and 1918, Moroccan soldiers fought valiantly alongside United States Marines at Chateau Thierry, Mont Blanc, and Soissons.

During World War II, Moroccan national defense forces aided American and British forces in the region. Morocco hosted one of the most pivotal meetings of the Allied leaders in World War II. In January 1943, United States President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Free French commander Charles De Gaulle met for 4 days in the Casablanca neighborhood of Anfa to discuss strategy against the Axis powers. It was during this series of meetings that the Allies agreed to launch their continental counter push against Axis aggression through a beach head landing on the French Atlantic coast.

Following Morocco's independence in 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower communicated to King Mohammed V that ``my government renews its wishes for the peace and prosperity of Morocco.'' The King responded by reassuring President Eisenhower that Morocco would be a staunch ally in the fight against the proliferation of communism in the region.

The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and its predecessor agencies, as well as the Peace Corps, have been active in Morocco since 1953. Currently, there are more than 200 volunteers in Morocco working in the areas of health, youth development, small business and the environment.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Morocco was one of the first nations to express its solidarity with the United States and immediately renewed its commitment as a strong ally to combat terrorism. Cooperation between the United States and Morocco on these issues includes data sharing, law enforcement partnerships, improved capabilities to oversee strategic checkpoints, and joint efforts to terminate terrorist organization financing.

It is important to extend our warm congratulations to His Majesty King Mohammed VI as well as to the people of Morocco on the anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which set the stage for continued and sustained engagement between our two countries.

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