How a Great Power Falls Apart
Decline Is Invisible From the Inside
THE modern history of Morocco may be said to have begun in 1904 with the Anglo-French Agreement of that year. For some time previous the Moorish Empire had been breaking up. A strong Sultan, Mulai Hassen, had died in 1894 leaving as heir to his throne one of his younger sons, Mulai Abdul Aziz, a mere boy. For several years the power lay in the hands of the Grand Vizier and it was not till his death in 1901 that the young Sultan emerged from the precincts of the secluded palace to take over the reins of government. Well-intentioned, weak, misled, and shockingly robbed, Mulai Abdul Aziz was incapable of maintaining order over the turbulent tribes whom a long period of repression and extortion had rendered only too ready to revolt. His plight was not rendered any the happier by the fact that the two powers most interested at that period in Morocco--England and France--were united by no ties of friendship. France, intent upon rounding off her great possessions in North Africa, coveted the rich but almost unknown country that lay between the Algerian frontier and the Atlantic Ocean. England, desiring nothing for herself in Morocco--unless it was Tangier, which she knew could never be hers--was firmly determined to combat all France's schemes to obtain a preponderating influence in the country. Accordingly the British Government strongly supported the young Sultan in resisting the constant French pressure. Germany and Spain, jealous of France's African possessions, gave England a moderate measure of support. But the bolstering up of the decaying Moorish Government could not save the situation. Tribal revolt, misgovernment, corruption, disturbances on the Algerian frontier and near the Spanish "Presidios" on the Mediterranean coast, indicated the end of Moorish independence. The British Government realized at length that no assistance that it was prepared to give--and the assistance had always been more in advice than in substance--could prolong for any but a very short period the life of the decaying empire.
There remained but one purpose that Morocco could serve--that of a pawn on the chessboard of Europe. It is possible that active intervention might have been a remedy, but active intervention was exactly what Great Britain was determined to avoid, and under no circumstances less than the seizure of Tangier by a foreign power would she have taken the risk. Only lately emerged from the throes of the South African War, England required a long period of peace. The death of Queen Victoria and the accession of King Edward VII had awakened a desire for a new foreign policy and for new friends in Europe. It had long been King Edward's wish to see an improvement in the relations between England and France. His arrival on the throne rendered this possible. He enjoyed great popularity in France. He was esteemed and trusted in England and his great ability was fully recognized. Under his influence the attitude of the two peoples toward each other changed and an exhibition of goodwill on both sides rendered an entente feasible. The first step was the elimination of the points of friction which existed between the two countries, and there were no more serious points of friction than Morocco and Egypt. It was realized that before any permanent entente could be reached these two disturbing elements must be got rid of. A simple formula was devised--the withdrawal by England and France of their political interests in Morocco and Egypt respectively. England was to have a free hand in Egypt to continue her work in that country, while the closed doors of Morocco were to be opened to France. The withdrawal of British political interests in Morocco, where they were paramount at the Court of Mulai Abdul Aziz, practically left Morocco in the hands of the power against the intentions of which the British Government had never ceased to warn the Sultan. It was only when the Anglo-French Agreement was signed that the Sultan learned that the staff on which he had always leaned had proved to be a broken reed.
It is to this Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 that the existing situation in Morocco owes its origin, for it contains the basis of all the subsequent arrangements, treaties and conventions which in any way confirm or modify the spheres of influence of France or Spain, or determine the status of Tangier. It is therefore essential, in reviewing subsequent events and the existing situation in Morocco, that the terms of this original agreement should be borne in mind. Briefly, as far as lay in the powers of the contracting parties, with certain non-political and commercial exceptions, it gave England in Egypt and France in Morocco full liberty of action. The benefits that accrued to England in Egypt are outside the scope of this article; we have to deal with Morocco alone.
By Clause II of the Agreement the British Government recognizes that it pertains to France to watch over the security of Morocco and to furnish the Moorish Government with all such assistance in administrative, economic, financial, and military reform as it may stand in need of. No hindrance will be put in the accomplishment of France's duty in this respect by the British Government provided the existing rights of Great Britain are not interfered with. In Clause IV the two governments mutually guarantee that in Egypt and Morocco respectively there shall be maintained an equality of treatment in the customs houses, and under all other forms of taxation, and in the transport of merchandize on the railways. In Clause VII the two governments undertake that they will allow the construction of no fortifications on the southern shore of the Straits of Gibraltar, or along the Atlantic as far south as the mouth of the Sebou River, or on the Mediterranean as far east as the Spanish "Presidio" of Melilla. Exception is, of course, made of Spain's fortresses and positions along the latter coast.
So far the Agreement was limited to the two contracting parties, England and France, but it was evident that Spain's geographical position and the fact that she possessed territory on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco gave her an indisputable right to be a party to any such arrangement. Ceuta, Peñon de la Gomera, Alhucemas, and Melilla had been Spanish territory for centuries, and in the far south, opposite the Canary Islands, Spain claimed a long-abandoned possession, Santa Cruz de Mar Pequeña.
Article VIII states that the two governments, inspired by sincerely friendly sentiments toward Spain, take into particular consideration the interests that Spain has acquired by her geographical position and her territorial possessions on the Mediterranean coast. On this subject, it is stipulated, the French Government will concert with the Spanish Government and will communicate to the British Government the terms of the arrangement which may result between France and Spain. In the last clause the British Government undertakes to give the French Government its diplomatic assistance in carrying out the terms of the Agreement.
Such, briefly, are the contents of the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904. A separate and secret convention accompanied it, in which the proposed extent of the Spanish Zone was specified, but which at the same time gave the French Government entire liberty to negotiate this question of delimitation. So successful were the French in these negotiations that Spain was satisfied with a very much smaller sphere of influence than France was prepared to grant. The original proposition included not only the rich Gharb plains north of the Sebou River, but even Fez itself. It was a disappointment to the Spanish Government to learn after their agreement with France was signed that they might have included in their sphere of influence these valuable assets.
France and Spain having come to terms, the Spanish Government gave its formal adherence to the Anglo-French Agreement on October 3, 1904. This recognition by Spain was followed by a secret arrangement with France which was signed on October 30, and the next year a second secret Franco-Spanish convention was signed on September 1.
The following year (1906) a conference on the subject of Morocco was held at Algeciras, summoned by the Sultan at the instigation of the German Government, which had become anxious as to the intentions of England, France and Spain in regard to that country. The attitude adopted by the governments of those three powers, however, successfully prevented the introduction of any question that threatened the eventual operation of the terms of the agreements which had been signed between them during the previous two years. Certain reforms were introduced on an international basis and equality of treatment in commercial and industrial matters was guaranteed to the subjects of all the signatory powers in Morocco. The question of spheres of influence never arose, and the Germans and their supporters, who had hoped to raise the entire subject of Morocco's future, failed in their endeavors to do so. The ultimate results of Algeciras were to strengthen the position of France and Spain in Morocco.
In 1911 the German Government--having in the meantime left no stone unturned to hamper France's Moroccan policy, even to the sending of a warship, the Panther, to Agadir, and having at last realized that its efforts were in vain--proposed a deal. In return for territorial concessions in West Africa, Germany signed a treaty with France on November 4, 1911, by which she bound herself to adhere to the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904. There were a few modifications but none which affected the spirit of that Agreement. The German Government formally recognized the right of France to extend her control in, and her protection over, Morocco. This treaty also confirmed to France the privilege of the diplomatic representation of Morocco both in that country and abroad.
By this Franco-German treaty France's position in Morocco was greatly strengthened. Her predominance and liberty of action had now obtained the support of all the powers whose consent was of importance--England, Spain and Germany. With regard to the other powers, the interests of which were economic and commercial, the Act of Algeciras gave a sufficient guarantee of equality of treatment. France found herself authorized to introduce into the country all such "administrative, judicial, economic, financial, and military reforms" as she might think fit, provided they did not affect the status and rights of the subjects of other powers. In short, France became the recognized collaborator with the Sultan and the Moorish Government in every branch of administration.
It was the course of events in Morocco itself as much as this series of political arrangements outside of it that brought about in 1912 the negotiation and declaration of a French Protectorate over Morocco.
The Sultan, Mulai Abdul Aziz, whose authority at the moment when the British Government in 1904 had abandoned the task of trying to prop up the decaying Moorish Government had already become greatly diminished, lost the throne in 1908. His brother, Mulai Hafid, egged on and supported by the influential chiefs of the south, had raised the standard of rebellion. After a long campaign--in which an intense desire never to come to decisive action seems to have been the common aim of both parties--Mulai Hafid gained the day. Both Sultans, for at one period they both reigned in different parts of the country, were without adequate means to finance the campaign. The war was desultory and uneventful. Both were dependent upon the deserters of the other's army for troops, for the soldiers fought for whichever side could afford to pay them. On French advice and with French financial assistance Mulai Abdul Aziz set out from the coast with an expedition in August, 1908, for the reconquest of his southern capital, Marrakesh. Within a day or two's march of that city, owing to a rising of a supposedly friendly tribe against him, he was defeated. His camp was pillaged and he returned to the coast a fugitive. There he abdicated in favor of his brother. Mulai Hafid was proclaimed at Fez and at Tangier and all Morocco recognized him. He reigned for four years (1908-1912), and though at first he showed signs of a desire to restore the fortune of his country, it was too late. Chaos and corruption had done their work. Wearying of the struggle, at war with his tribes, at the mercy of the foreign powers, his treasury empty, Mulai Hafid abandoned hope. From month to month the situation became more difficult. At length in 1911, besieged in his capital by the tribesmen of the surrounding districts, he appealed to the French Government for assistance, and troops were despatched to Fez. It was the beginning of the end, and in March, 1912, he signed a treaty by which he recognized a French Protectorate over Morocco. It was the end of Morocco's centuries of independence.
As in the case of the Agreements with England of 1904, and with Germany in 1911, France's Treaty of Protectorate with the Sultan of Morocco included the whole of that country with the exception of Tangier. The French Government was charged with the foreign relations and the Sultan undertook to conclude no act of international character without the consent of France. The status of the French Résident-Général, whose powers are most extensive, was outlined; the control of practically the whole administration rested in his hands. To this there was only one exception. Tangier had been carefully eliminated from all these treaties and agreements, that is to say there had been inserted a clause in each of them by which it was agreed that the status of Tangier should be determined by a separate arrangement. It was clear, therefore, and undisputed, that Tangier and its little zone fell neither in the French Protectorate nor in the Spanish sphere of influence. Another exception to France's complete control of Morocco, though not mentioned in the Protectorate Treaty, was the Spanish Zone, which the French Government had by the Anglo-French and Franco-Spanish Agreements of 1904 definitely engaged itself to recognize. On the subject of her Zone of influence Spain had not, and has not today, any direct treaty with Morocco. She has merely the agreement with France that she was to occupy and administer a section of northern Morocco extending from the Algerian frontier to a spot a little south of the town of Laraiche on the Atlantic coast, including the whole northern coast-line with the exception of Tangier. To this transaction the Sultan and Moorish Government were in fact not parties. The situation, briefly, was that France had negotiated with the Sultan of Morocco a treaty of protectorate over the whole of Morocco, excluding Tangier, but France at the time of the signature of this treaty had already pledged herself to sublet to Spain the northern section of this country and a district in the desert regions of the south. Spain's position in Morocco is based solely upon her treaties and agreements with France.
The moment had now arrived to study in detail the terms upon which the Spaniards were to administer their sphere of influence, and for the definite delimitation of its frontiers. The French Government, once the Treaty of Protectorate was signed, immediately opened negotiations with Madrid, and the result was the Franco-Spanish Treaty of November, 1912. By the first clause of this Treaty the French Government formally recognized that it pertained to Spain to keep watch over the security of the Spanish Zone and to grant the Moorish Government within the limits of the Zone all such administrative, economic, financial, judicial, and military assistance as might be needed. In fact by this first clause of the treaty France transfers to Spain the rights and responsibilities to fulfill the same functions in the Spanish Zone as Great Britain had recognized as pertaining to France over the whole of Morocco by the Agreement of 1904. Spain, by signing this treaty, accepted responsibility for the maintenance of order and the introduction of reforms. Clause II confirms the civil and religious authority of the Sultan over the Spanish Zone and agrees that it shall be administered, under the control of a Spanish High Commissioner, by a Khalifa chosen by the Sultan from two names to be submitted by the Spanish Government. The Khalifa is to reside in Tetuan and will be invested by the Sultan with full powers. The Spanish High Commissioner shall be the sole intermediary between the Khalifa and the local agents (consuls) of the powers in the Spanish Zone, but the Spanish Government recognizes Clause V of the French Treaty of Protectorate by which all relations with the diplomatic representatives of foreign powers are vested in the French Résident-Général, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs for all Morocco. The authority of the Spanish High Commissioner in his relations with the foreign consuls is therefore strictly limited to questions of local interest.
The treaty, after stating the geographical limits of the Spanish northern and southern districts, stipulates that the Spanish Government shall under no circumstances alienate or cede even temporarily her rights over any part of them. Spain undertakes, as England and France had already done by the Agreement of 1904, to allow no fortifications to be erected on the coast of her Zone--with the exception, of course, of her "Presidios," which are Spanish territorial possessions. The Franco-Spanish Treaty also delimits the frontier of the little Tangier Zone and confirms the liberty of education and cults. Spain's right to spend on the upkeep of her sphere all such taxes as she may collect, together with the mining royalties, etc., is recognized and there are various further clauses which affect the functions of the Moroccan State Bank, the Tangier-Fez Railway and the protection of natives at home and abroad.
Spain, though possessing full powers to administer her sphere as she may deem fit, provided treaty rights are not affected, has legally no protectorate over her Zone of Morocco. Her powers are delegated by France whose protectorate extends over the whole of Morocco. But in the interests of practical government Spain's position in Morocco has been recognized as amounting to a protectorate. With the exception of the diplomatic relationship with the foreign powers, the Spanish High Commissioner enjoys in Spanish Morocco practically the same almost unlimited powers as does the French Résident-Général in the French Protectorate. In the same way the Khalifa in Tetuan plays the part of a Spanish protected monarch and is invested with all the paraphernalia of an oriental sultan. Even the imperial parasol is carried above his head on state occasions and, except in name, he is a sovereign. It has been the policy of both France and Spain to dissociate in fact, while preserving united in form, the two governments of the French Protectorate and of the Spanish Zone.
This system of splitting up into spheres of influence a country which, while nominally a unit, represents as a matter of fact different political and administrative entities, is not one that can be recommended. More especially is this the case where, as in Morocco, it was done without consultation with the ruler or the people of the country, and introduces frontiers that only to a very small extent are based upon natural or physical features--frontiers that pass through unexplored and unknown districts. An imaginary line was drawn from point to point, often varying with the supposed contour of the country, and the tribes through whose territory this arbitrary frontier passed were told that the inhabitants who lived to the north were subject to Spanish administration while those to the south fell in the French Protectorate. Naturally this delimitation required, as the country became better known, considerable readjustment. But even today there are large districts on both sides of the frontier which are still unoccupied by the French or the Spaniards, and which are almost unexplored.
Had the Spaniards shown in their administration of the Moslem population of their Zone a skill equal to that of the French the situation today would have been very different and far more hopeful. There is no need to describe here the admirable work that the French have accomplished under Maréchal Lyautey. It is an achievement that is perhaps unparalleled in the annals of African administration. The Spaniards have been less fortunate. Their intentions have been of the best but they have been hampered by want of previous experience, by sacrificing practical results to an exaggerated sentiment of amour propre, by disorganization and by lack of imagination. Today extensive districts of their Zone, occupied at great expense and entailing heavy loss of life, have been evacuated, and Spain finds herself, in the northwestern part of her Zone, back almost on the sea coast. But with the military side of the Spanish war in Morocco we have nothing to do here. It is the political results that cannot be ignored, and the most important of these for the moment is that by the withdrawal of the Spanish troops the extensive northern frontier of the French area has been left directly exposed to attack on the part of the Rifi and Jibala tribesmen. Admirably armed, and intoxicated with their successes over the Spaniards, Abdul Krim and his forces are menacing the French lines and threatening the security of the peaceful population which lives behind those lines. The French authorities in Morocco have watched with evident and justified anxiety the evacuation of so much of the neighboring Zone by the Spanish army.
The question of Spanish responsibility arises. To what extent, if any, can Spain be held responsible for the situation brought about by the retirement of her control from regions which, it is held, she had by treaty engaged herself to safeguard and pacify? On this point the views of Paris and Madrid are at direct variance.
The Spanish Directory, while largely reducing the occupied area of the Spanish Zone, states that Spain abandons none of the rights and privileges which by treaty she holds over the entire extent of that Zone. The treaty does not bind Spain, the Directory claims, to be in occupation or to control her whole Zone. The Directory asserts that the Anglo-French Agreement of April, 1904, which as it was previous to the Franco-Spanish arrangement of November of the same year therefore refers to the whole of Morocco, states in Clause II: "The Government of His Britannic Majesty recognizes that it pertains (appartient) to France . . . to watch over (de veiller) the security of that country (Morocco) and to lend its assistance for all administrative, economic, financial, and military reforms that may be needed." The Spanish Government declares that by this clause Great Britain recognizes France's right to aid Morocco, but it does not consider that it lays any direct responsibility upon France to do so. France's rights, in so far as they concerned the Spanish Zone, were transferred to Spain by the subsequent Franco-Spanish Agreement of November, 1912. The Directory therefore claims that there is no obligation for Spain to occupy the whole of her Zone, but that she is free to do so how and when she pleases.
The French do not accept this point of view. It is claimed that the Spaniards are bound by Clause I of the Franco-Spanish Agreement of November, 1912, which states: "It pertains (appartient) to Spain to watch over (de veiller) the tranquillity of the said Zone (Spanish) and to lend assistance to the Moorish Government . . ." The French Government holds that this expression "il appartient" carries with it a distinct and direct obligation, just as the French Government itself accepted a distinct and direct obligation as resulting from the use of the same phrase in the Agreement (1904) with England. Even if this is straining a point by holding the Spanish Government to a too legal interpretation, Spain, the French authorities argue, is morally bound to restore and maintain order. She cannot be justified in laying claim to her Zone, which is only a portion of a larger country, from which it is separated by a purely arbitrary frontier, and at the same time leave it in a state of anarchy. The French Government is sincerely desirous that Spain should abandon none of her rights and responsibilities but trusts that she will take steps to carry out without undue delay the occupation and pacification of her Zone. The question rests there today. What will be the action of Spain with regard to the re-occupation of the evacuated districts and the establishment of order in those parts of her Zone which she has never occupied? What responsibility does she incur?
It is clear that Spain cannot by her treaty (1912) with France cede in any form or circumstances whatever the whole or any portion of her Zone to any party or person. To whom then, in case she abandoned her sphere of influence, would it revert? As far as England is concerned the answer is very clear, for by Clause IV of the secret Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 it is stated that "if Spain, invited to adhere to the previous clause (the offer to her of a Zone in Morocco), does not see her way to do so (croyait devoir s'abstenir), the arrangement already come to between France and Great Britain shall be none the less immediately applied." The "arrangement" here referred to conceded the rights over the whole of Morocco to France. There can be no doubt that should Spain decide to abandon her thankless task, the duty of restoring order in the Spanish Zone--an arduous one which the French Government has no desire whatever to undertake--falls to France. Would she accept it? Would she be allowed to obtain a preponderance on the Mediterranean coast? The answer is impossible to give.
There remains for consideration the question of the status of Tangier. It has already been pointed out that in the various treaties and agreements that had been concluded between the governments of the powers interested in Morocco, and in the Treaty of French Protectorate itself, there were inserted clauses which determined that the status of Tangier should be settled by a special ulterior arrangement.
Tangier for a century or more has been the diplomatic capital of Morocco in that it was the residence of the representatives of the foreign powers, for it had always been the policy of a long succession of sultans to close the interior of their country against all European influences. Force of circumstances, arising from questions of security of life and property and of hygiene, and other causes, had not only brought about the regime of the "Capitulations"--by which the subjects of the powers enjoyed the privilege of being under the jurisdiction of their respective consular authorities all over Morocco--but also special concessions in Tangier itself. The sultans had from time to time delegated to the foreign representatives at Tangier certain rights of participation in the local government. From this there grew up a sort of international régime, always, be it understood, under the sovereignty of the sultan. It was on the existence and recognition of this regime that the British Government, basing its policy on the great importance of the strategic position of Tangier, demanded its neutrality and its internationalization.
It can easily be realized that the position of the population of Tangier while awaiting the settlement of their fate was no enviable one. Friction and obstruction reigned supreme and the interests of its inhabitants, and of the place itself, were sacrificed to the pettiness of local jealousies. In 1913, however, a conference of the delegates of England, France and Spain met at Madrid, but the resulting convention was still unratified when war broke out in 1914. It was not till 1923 that the question was reopened and in October of that year a conference met at Paris. On December 18, 1923, a convention was signed, and shortly afterwards ratified by the British, French and Spanish Governments.
The new status of Tangier is based upon a charter of permanent neutral internationalization, under the sovereignty of the Sultan of Morocco, who maintains control over Moslem and Jewish Moroccan subjects. The Sultan is represented by a high Moorish official--the Mendoub. The administration of the town and its zone, about 200 square miles in extent, rests in the hands of an Administrator and two Assistant Administrators, who carry out the decisions of the Legislative Assembly, subject to their ratification by the Committee of Control. For a period of six years the three Administrators will be British, French and Spanish subjects. After that period they will be chosen by the Assembly. A French and a Spanish engineer will superintend the public works. Over this administration is the Committee of Control, consisting of the consuls of all the powers --except ex-enemy powers--who signed the Algeciras Act. The Legislative Assembly consists of twenty-six members, chosen from the subjects of the powers represented in Tangier and from the Moorish and Jewish population. The number of the members representing each nationality is regulated by the local importance in population, trade and influence of the nationality in question. Clauses have been introduced for progressive modifications in the convention and in the codes at specified periods of time. Special legal codes have been drawn up based on those in use in the French and Spanish Zones. Justice will be administered in mixed tribunals by judges of different nationalities. A gendarmerie of 250 men, natives of Morocco, is placed under the command of a Belgian captain, with French and Spanish assistants. It is quite evident that this international scheme will be far more difficult to put into practice than it was to put upon paper, and already, although the new status of Tangier has not been officially recognized as existing, its path is not free from stumbling blocks.
The convention was signed at Paris in December, 1923. Yet today, nearly a year and a half later, the new government is only working provisionally as a bridge between the old régime and the administration that is to be. For the moment there is neither one nor the other. The International Legislative Assembly is sitting, the Administrators and the Judges are appointed, the preparatory work has begun, but little or no progress has been made. The old form of government, with its diplomatic control, is disappearing in its own atmosphere of scandal and of inefficiency. It was always hopeless, and was only permitted to exist by the obstruction of certain European powers to almost any form of progress. Everything was sacrificed to international jealousies, and Tangier was brought to its present condition of chaos and distress. The convention, though in itself an imperfect work, promises to the mixed races and religions of Tangier an improved administration and a voice in their own government. An intense desire for amelioration in their condition has brought about a new spirit of goodwill and fellowship. Whether this hopeful attitude will be adopted by the representatives of the powers, whose opportunities and temptations to pursue merely national policies will be many, is another question. It must be confessed that there exists amongst the public of Tangier a certain distrust, warranted by past experience, towards the governments of Europe, more especially those of them which, for political reasons, may have axes of their own to grind. The people of Tangier realize that the only means to escape this danger is by exerting to their full the independent powers and privileges of the International Legislative Assembly and by permitting no unauthorized intervention on the part of the representatives of the powers. As the Committee of Control the consuls of the powers have certain, but limited, rights. It is for the Assembly to see that these rights are kept within their limits. Already there exist suspicions that the consuls of certain powers are striving to return to the old system of "government by diplomacy," in reply to which the Assembly has already asserted its authority in a manner that cannot be misunderstood. It has shown, thus early in its existence, that it will brook no interference with its sovereign rights. Amongst its members there is, too, evidence of a spirit of international harmony which augurs well. But the future of Tangier, in spite of the many difficulties which have to be faced, is assured, not perhaps owing to this experiment in international government, but because of the city's unique situation on the Straits of Gibraltar and its geographical position as the nearest point in Africa to Europe.
For the welfare of the Moslem native of Tangier much remains to be done. The European governments, not content with obstructing all progress in the past, have as well shown a callous indifference to the sufferings of these unfortunate people, whose actual condition would anywhere else raise a storm of protest. There is no native hospital, beyond a few beds in a Mission House, no lunatic asylum, no "home"--and no help--for widows and orphans, no poor rates and no poor law, and no officially organized charity or relief. It is only by private subscription amongst Tangier's population--itself impoverished by misfortune--that a minimum of food is being distributed today to hundreds of half-starved people.
Of the present situation in the French Protectorate of Morocco, further south, little need be said in addition to what has already been set down. Agriculture, the staple industry of the country, is receiving every assistance and the cultivated area is increasing yearly. Railways are being constructed in many directions and excellent roads already facilitate communication all over the land. France has accomplished a great work in that part of Morocco entrusted to her care. With its fine old cities and its strange oriental life, and with its motor services and new hotels, the French Protectorate is meeting with great success as a tourist resort. Maréchal Lyautey's administration of this Islamic country may well serve as a model elsewhere. It is indeed a fine example of administrative ability.
In the Spanish sphere of influence the nature of the very difficult task with which the Spaniards have found themselves confronted has impeded progress. Weary of great sacrifices in men and money--sacrifices that have led to no very tangible results--General Primo de Rivera, the President of the Spanish Directory, instituted in the summer of last year a new policy. He has been successful, not without difficulty and heavy losses, in withdrawing all the outlying Spanish forces in the western part of the Zone to a new and strengthened line nearer the coast. It has necessitated the evacuation of much occupied territory, but the Spaniards are back now to where they were in 1917, having abandoned everything in that part of Morocco which they had conquered since that date. It was the wisest--very probably the only--policy, and General Primo de Rivera is to be congratulated on his courage in having inaugurated and carried it through in the face of considerable opposition. But Spain still stands face to face with the unconquered warlike tribes of the Rif and the problem of the future of the Spanish Zone remains to be solved. The intentions of the Spanish Government are not known; probably no decision has yet been taken. Apart from all question of the reconquest of the abandoned districts, apart from the still more difficult task of bringing the Rif tribes to submission, Spain's work is beset by innumerable difficulties, owing largely to the nature of the country and the character of the natives, and still more to the methods which the Spaniards themselves adopted in these past few years. In this there are signs of improvement and General Primo de Rivera can be trusted to bring about many changes in the vacillating and often hopelessly incompetent policy which the Spaniards formerly exercised. It is to the interests of the whole world that this protracted war, and all the miseries it entails, should cease. In the last six months of 1924 alone the cost to Spain has been over 20,000 losses in killed and wounded, besides a vast sum of money. Unfortunately its end is not yet in sight.