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British Interests In Morocco

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 21 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the losses experienced by British residents at Casa Blanca, and to the statement of Mr. Bolton, a missionary, that whilst the French, German and Spanish Governments took measures for the protection of their subjects, no similar action was taken by the British; and whether he will state what action has been taken to safeguard the interests and the lives of British residents in Morocco.

My right hon. friend regrets to state that His Majesty's Consul has reported that extensive damage has been caused to the property of British and other residents at Casa Blanca, but he has no knowledge of the statement to which the hon. Member refers. His Majesty's Government considered that it was for the French and Spanish Governments to take all steps which were possible for the maintenance of order in the open ports of Morocco, and they have full reliance in the measures undertaken by those Governments for the protection of the lives and property of Europeans, irrespective of nationality, in the ports in question. No other Power sent any force to Casa Blanca, and the action of the British Government has been in conformity with that of the rest of the Powers. As regards the comparatively small number of British subjects resident in the interior of Morocco, it is understood that the members of the British Colony at Morocco City were to leave that place for the coast on the 11th instant; and the Consular Officers at Fez and Alcazar have received instructions to take what measures are possible for the withdrawal to the coast of British residents in their respective districts should the situation appear to necessitate such a step.