JANUARY 3, 1953
HYDE PARK, Friday—Admittedly, Korea is perhaps the most difficult question before the United Nations at the present time, but the question that concerns Morocco is a very serious one, too.
The Moslem world has, according to some people, made up its mind to test in Morocco the good faith of the Western world, particularly of the United States.
It seems to me that in the U.S. we should try to get as much enlightenment as possible on this situation.
In relation to this the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has printed a pamphlet, entitled "Morocco," by Rom Landau. Mr. Landau is at present in this country on his way to lecture at a university on the West Coast and is considered an expert on matters touching the Middle East and North Africa. He lived for years of his childhood in Tunisia and has spent a great deal of his time since in the Middle East, and particularly in Morocco.
From what I have heard of late it would seem that there is one factor in the Moroccan situation that is little understood in this country and perhaps may not be very well understood by the French people themselves. In Morocco there are about 10,000 French "colons." They derive profits from their investments in Morocco, and so does a group of "big" business interests. This group is not a large group in number but it is a powerful group and it controls a considerable number of votes in the French Chamber of Deputies. In this connection all of us know that any substantial block of votes can cause trouble in the French legislature because practically any French government has to have the votes of many groups to have a majority.
Up to this date in Morocco the Nationalist party has been strongly anti-Communist and the sultan and the Nationalists now are willing to sign a treaty of alliance with France and to guarantee all French economic interests in Morocco. In return they hope for a definite date to be set when they might enjoy their independence.
The French government feels that there should be no outside interference in Tunisia or Morocco because the questions involved are domestic ones. Admittedly, however, from all reports there is a great restlessness in this area of the world and there has been considerable rioting and violence. Any country in which the people are dissatisfied is fertile ground for communism. Here Communist propaganda, Communist money, and a certain amount of infiltration will bring about more and more internal troubles, and it will be harder and harder for the French to come to a sensible and fair agreement.
One can only hope that the French government and the small group of big business interests involved will see that unless they soon devise some means that are acceptable to all concerned, the danger is very great to the very interests they are now trying to protect. Sometimes we save more by making concessions, which meet certain needs and aspirations of the people, than by rigid adherence to a particular policy that may have served well in the past but which perhaps is outdated in these times.