Tangier International Zone

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Tangier International Zone
منطقة طنجة الدولية
Zone internationale de Tanger
Zona Internacional de Tánger
1925–1940
1945–1956
Flag of Tangier
Flag
Map showing the boundary of the Tangier International Zone
Map showing the boundary of the Tangier International Zone
StatusInternational zone
CapitalTangier
Common languagesFrench, Spanish, Arabic, Darija, Riffan Berber, English, Portuguese, Dutch, Haketia
Official languagesFrench, Spanish, Arabic
Religion
Islam, Christianity, Judaism
History 
• Established
1 June 1925
14 June 1940 –
11 October 1945
• Disestablished
29 October 1956
Area
• Total
382 km2 (147 sq mi)[1]: 18 
CurrencyMoroccan franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
1925
Unsettled status under Algeciras final act
1956
Sultanate of Morocco
Today part ofKingdom of Morocco

The Tangier International Zone (Arabic: منطقة طنجة الدولية Minṭaqat Ṭanja ad-Dawliyya, French: Zone internationale de Tanger, Spanish: Zona Internacional de Tánger) was a 382 km2 (147 sq mi) international zone centered on the city of Tangier, Morocco, which existed from 1925 until its reintegration into independent Morocco in 1956, with interruption during the Spanish occupation of Tangier (1940–1945), and special economic status extended until early 1960. Surrounded on the land side by the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, it was governed under a unique and complex system that involved various European nations, the United States (mainly after 1945), and the Sultan of Morocco, himself under a French protectorate.

History[edit]

Early international governance in Tangier[edit]

Baedeker map of Tangier in 1901, showing the walled Medina and multiple foreign consulates and legations
Borj en-Nâam barracks in the Kasbah of Tangier, former seat of the Spanish Tabor (city police) between 1906 and 1925

In 1777, Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah designated Tangier as the main point of contact between the Moroccan monarchy and European commercial interests, leading to the establishment of a number of consulates in the city by the main European nations.[2]: 73  By 1830, Denmark, France, Portugal, Sardinia, Spain, Sweden, Tuscany, the United Kingdom, and the United States all had consulates in Tangier.[3]: 68  In 1851, the sultan appointed a permanent representative to the foreign powers in Tangier, the Naib,[2]: 79  and in 1856, all existing consulates were elevated to legations.[1]: 17  The United Kingdom established a postal service in Tangier in 1857, followed by France in 1860, Spain in 1861, Germany in 1899, and the Moroccan Sultanate itself in 1902.[4]: 402  In 1863, the Béclard Convention between France and Morocco expanded the protégé system for France's benefit, which in 1880 was extended to other nations by the Treaty of Madrid.[5]: 307 

The foreign powers in Tangier started developing joint projects. They established a sanitary council (French: conseil sanitaire) in 1840,[5]: 306  and cooperated in the early 1860s for the creation of the Cape Spartel lighthouse [fr], inaugurated in 1864. In 1879, a Dahir (decree) of the Sultan of Morocco formally created a Hygiene Commission, which took shape in the 1880s, was chaired from 1888 by Spanish physician Severo Cenarro [es],[6]: 272  and was further organised in 1892. The Hygiene Commission was chaired by the foreign consuls, on three-months turns with succession based on alphabetical order of nationality.[3]: 78  One of them, the Greek-American Ion Hanford Perdicaris, in 1887 advocated a special status for Tangier as a neutral free port under the great powers' joint control.[7]: 110  In 1893, the Hygiene Commission's role was broadened to public roads, with authority to raise levies.[8]: 11  In 1904, Tangier was chosen as location of the French-led Moroccan Debt Administration.

The Algeciras Conference of 1906 established the State Bank of Morocco in Tangier, as well as an Office of Public Works that in 1909 took over part of the services that had been managed by the Hygiene Commission;[2]: 119  it also resulted in the creation of a dual police force under foreign control, the Tabor divided between French and Spanish components,[2]: 236  respectively in charge of public order outside and inside the city limits.[9] Both France and Spain wanted to control the city, and the United Kingdom wanted to neutralise it to maintain its dominance of the Strait of Gibraltar. In 1912, Article 7 of the Treaty Between France and Spain Regarding Morocco stipulated that Tangier would be granted a special status. An agreement to that effect was signed in Madrid in 1914, but its implementation was suspended by World War I.[1]: 17  Negotiations restarted after the end of the war, in Cannes in 1922.[10]: 12  Meanwhile, Tangier still operated under the ancient regime of Capitulations under which the Sultan of Morocco delegated wide administrative duties in the town to the foreign consulates established there.

Establishment of the International Zone and early years[edit]

Tangier (top left) and the Spanish protectorate in Morocco

Eventually, France, Spain and the UK reached agreement on the Tangier Protocol on 18 December 1923,[10]: 12  and proposed it for ratification to the other powers that were party to the Algeciras Conference - except Germany, Austria and Hungary, disempowered by the peace treaties (respectively of Versailles, Saint-Germain and Trianon), and the Soviet Union, whose position was unclear given its estrangement from the international system.[11]: 233  Tangier was made a neutral zone under a joint administration. In line with UK wishes, it was entirely free from any military presence. It was also made into a tax haven, with no tariffs on imported or exported goods or gold, no exchange controls, no income or revenue taxes, and unlimited freedom of establishment.[1]: 18  Although misgivings remained about the agreement,[12] ratifications were exchanged in Paris on 14 May 1924, including those of Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.[13] The entry into force of the Protocol was further delayed by translation challenges,[5]: 318  so that the Tangier International Zone eventually started in 1 June 1925 under a Dahir of 15 May 1925.[11]: 232  By then, however, two of the Algeciras powers had declined to ratify the Tangier Protocol: Fascist Italy insisted on the country's status as a "great Mediterranean power" and was offended about not having been invited to participate in the Protocol's negotiation; and the United States preferred to keep their freedom of action. Both consequently kept their nationals under their respective systems of consular courts.[5]: 318  Eventually, Italy joined the international framework as the Tangier Protocol was amended on 25 July 1929.[5]: 320 [14] That amended convention was also ratified by Belgium (25 July 1928), Sweden (19 October 1928), Portugal (15 January 1929), and the Netherlands (12 June 1929).[5]: 321 

The initial economic effect of the creation of the zone was sharply negative, because the Spanish protectorate authorities discouraged commerce with it and thus Tangier lost most of its traditional hinterland. Tangier had handled nineteen percent of Morocco's imports in 1906, but only four percent in 1929.[15] With time, however, the service activities favoured by the zone's special status enabled a gradual recovery. The Zone had a reputation for tolerance, diversity of culture, religion, and bohemianism. It became a tourist hotspot for literary giants and gay men from Western countries. Many of the latter were able to live an openly "out" life in the Zone.[16][17]

Spanish occupation during World War II[edit]

Spanish troops occupied Tangier on 14 June 1940, the same day Paris fell to the Germans. Despite calls by the writer Rafael Sánchez Mazas and other Spanish nationalists to annex "Tánger español", the Francoist State publicly considered the occupation a temporary wartime measure,[18] occasionally presented as a way to protect Tangier against the risk of German or Italian invasion.[5]: 329  A diplomatic dispute between Britain and Spain over the latter's abolition of the city's international institutions in November 1940 led to a further guarantee of British rights and a Spanish promise not to fortify the area.[19] Tangier was effectively annexed to the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco on 23 November 1940.[20] In May 1944, although it had served as a contact point between himself and the later Axis Powers during the Spanish Civil War, Franco expelled all German diplomats from the Zone.[21]

Postwar development[edit]

A quadripartite conference (France, Soviet Union, UK and United States) met in Paris on 31 August 1945 and nullified the amended Tangier Protocol of 1928, replacing it with a temporary arrangement and the intent to establish a new permanent statute following an ad hoc conference. This allowed the victors of World War II to exclude both Italy and Spain from the Committee of Control, while Italy's representation was reduced to that envisioned in December 1923. From then on, the U.S. participated in the Committee of Control and appointed a judge to the Mixed Courts. The Soviet Union soon relinquished interest in Tangier, however, which allowed Italy to recover its position in the Mixed Courts.[5]: 330 . Franco acknowledged the new international reality, and the territory was effectively restored to international status on 11 October 1945.[22]

The activity of Tangier as an offshore financial centre and tax haven took off in the postwar period. In 1950, there were 85 banks in Tangier, up from 4 in 1900 and 15 in 1939.[1]: 18  Its practice of banking secrecy was extreme, with effectively no bank licensing, no prudential supervision, no accounting obligations, and no transparency whatsoever about a bank's ownership. In some cases, the senior management of a Tangier bank would not even know who the bank's owners were. One author wrote that "the authorities of Tangier had pushed to an unequaled degree of perfection the art of non-governing by reciprocal annulment of rival sovereignties. They took care, better than elsewhere, of the rigorous application of an almost total non-taxation".[7]: 113 

A new convention was negotiated from August 1952 and finalized on 10 November 1952, by which the Mixed Courts were reformed into an International Jurisdictions with more judges. This entered into force by Dahir of the Sultan on 10 June 1953.[5]: 331 

By 1956, Tangier had a population of around 40,000 Muslims; 31,000 Christians; and 15,000 Jews.[23]

Termination[edit]

On 29 October 1956, the foreign nations involved in the zone and the Moroccan government, represented by Foreign Minister Ahmed Balafrej, signed a joint declaration that returned Tangier to full Moroccan sovereignty with immediate effect, while the operation of its international institutions was extended for practical purposes until the end of 1956.[24][5]: 337  On 24 August 1957, Mohammed V granted a charter to smooth the transition and extend the Zone's tax and other privileges for some more time. By Dahir of 17 October 1959, however, Mohammed V abrogated the charter with a six-month notice period.[1]: 22  The expiration of that transition in April 1960 marked the final end of Tangier's special status.[25]

Governance[edit]

Former Debt Administration building (Dar Al-Salaf), first office of the International Zone's Administration in the Interwar period
Former building of the International Zone's Administration, inaugurated ca. 1952
Former seat of the International Legislative Assembly, later remodeled and repurposed as Marshan Palace
Former seat of the Mixed Courts, under renovation in late 2022

The Zone's governance framework was in many ways unique, and ridden with ambiguities.[5]: 308 . It was also frequently renegotiated and perceived as temporary, with different participating countries constantly jockeying for influence. It rested on five main institutions: the Committee of Control, an oversight body; the Administrator (executive); the Legislative Assembly (legislature); the Mixed Courts (judiciary); and the Mendoub, or representative of the Sultan, with executive and judiciary authority over matters exclusively related to the Muslim and Jewish communities.

Committee of Control[edit]

The Committee of Control was formed by the Consuls of the participating powers. Its chair rotated on a yearly basis. It held a veto right over the Legislative Assembly's bills, without right of appeal except before the Permanent Court of International Justice in the Hague.[5]: 312 

Administrator[edit]

Executive power was vested in an Administrator, except for the (majority) Muslim and Jewish communities under the authority of the Mendoub. The Administrator was formally appointed by the Sultan, on a proposal by the Committee of Control.[5]: 310 

In the interwar period all Administrators were French, until the Spanish takeover of June 1940. They had two deputies, one French and one British.[1]: 18  After the re-establishment of the international regime in 1945, the Administrators were from other nationalities, namely Portuguese (1945–1948 and 1951–1954), Dutch (1948–1951), and Belgian (1954–1956).

In the zone's early years and until 1937, the Administrator and his staff worked in the building of the Moroccan Debt Administration, on Boulevard Pasteur.[26] From 1937 to the Spanish takeover, they appear to have been located at the nearby French Consulate.[27] A new building constructed to house the International Administration was completed in the early 1950s.[28] After Moroccan independence, that building was repurposed with some alterations as the seat of the local Prefecture (Wilaya), now of the region of Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima.

The Administrator nominated the head of the urban police, for ratification by the Legislative Assembly; the police was complemented by a gendarmerie, headed by a Belgian captain. These replaced the prior French and Spanish Tabors that had been established under the Treaty of Algeciras.[5]: 312 

Legislative Assembly[edit]

The zone's legislature was the International Legislative Assembly. It was chaired by the Mendoub, but supervised by a Committee of Control consisting of the Consuls of Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, with rotating chair similarly as in the former Hygiene Commission.[29] The assembly's membership was set as follows: 4 French, 4 Spanish, 3 British, 2 Italians (3 after 1928, 1 after 1945), 1 American (3 after 1945), 1 Belgian, 1 Dutch, 1 Portuguese, 6 Muslims, and 3 Jews.[3]: 8 [30] The latter 9 were designated by the Mendoub, which in practice made the Assembly a French-dominated body.[5]

After World War II, a new home was built for the Legislative Assembly,[10]: 18  which is now the main building of Marshan Palace.[31]

Mixed Courts (1925-1953) and International Jurisdiction (1953-1956)[edit]

Judicial power over the Zone's residents from the participating powers resided in the Mixed Courts. Under the initial Tangier Protocol, it had four judges (two British, one French and one Spanish), expanded in 1928 to five, respectively appointed by the Belgian, British, Spanish, French, and Italian governments,[29] They worked who prosecutors, one French and one Spanish.[5] As a result of the creation of the Mixed Courts, the participating European powers withdrew the consular courts that previously exercised jurisdiction there.[32] From the start, the Mixed Courts were considered a unique experiment given their international setup.[11] The applicable law was a blend of French and Spanish codes, depending on the specific matter,[11]: 234  and the Courts' official languages were French and Spanish.[11]: 236  Unlike other institutions of the zone, the Mixed Courts continued to function under the Spanish occupation of Tangier during World War II.[33]: 116  Following the convention of November 1952, the renamed International Jurisdiction included 2 judges from France, 2 from Spain, and 1 from each of Belgium, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, the UK, and the U.S.[5]: 332  Even so, it remained affected by shortcomings that included inadequate representation of Muslim Moroccans and an insufficient number of judges.

Cases pertaining exclusively to the Muslim and Jewish communities were not handled by the Mixed Court but by the respective Islamic and Rabbinical jurisdictions under the authority of the Mendoub. The State Bank of Morocco, whose head office was in Tangier, was placed under the jurisdiction of a special tribunal from which appeal went to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland in Lausanne.[33]: 115 

The Mixed Courts were initially located together with the International Administration on Boulevard Pasteur. In 1937, it moved to purpose-built art deco courthouse on rue Washington (now avenue Omar Ibn Al Khattab), which after Moroccan independence became the city courthouse (French: palais de justice).[30][34] In 2021 that court moved to a new building in the outskirts of Tangier,[35] and the former building of the Mixed Courts was subsequently renovated.

Mendoub[edit]

Aside from his direct authority over the (majority) Muslim and Jewish communities, the Mendoub had a mostly symbolic role in the international institutions. He chaired the Legislative Assembly (albeit without a vote of his own) and enacted its laws and regulations, but only after prior countersignature by the Chair of the Committee of Control.[5]: 310 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Jean-Pierre Débats (1996), "Tanger, son statut, sa zone (1923–1956)", Horizons Maghrébins – le droit à la mémoire, 31–32
  2. ^ a b c d e Jordi Mas Garriga (2019), La transformación de la ciudad de Tánger durante el Periodo Diplomático (1777–1912) : Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universitat Rovira i Virgili
  3. ^ a b c Bernabé López García (2015), Jordi Carbonell (ed.), "Del Tánger diplomático a la ciudad internacional", Caminos del Sur. Marruecos y el Orientalismo Peninsular, Barcelona: IEMed
  4. ^ Francesco Tamburini (2006), "Le Istituzioni Italiane di Tangeri (1926-1956)", Africa: Rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione dell'Istituto italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente, Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO), 61:3/4: 396–434
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Francesco Tamburini (2005), "L'amministrazione della giustizia nella zone internazionale di Tangeri (1923-1957)", Africa: Rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione dell'Istituto italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente, 60:3/4: 305–339
  6. ^ Silvia Nélida Bossio, ed. (2011), Aproximación a los edificios históricos y patrimoniales de Málaga, Tetuán, Nador, Tánger y Alhucemas / Un Rapprochement entre les édifices historiques et patrimoniaux de Malaga, Tétouan, Nador, Tanger et Al Hoceima (PDF), Servicio de Programas del Ayuntamiento de Málaga
  7. ^ a b Dieter Haller (2021), Tangier/Gibraltar – A Tale of One City: An Ethnography, Transcript Verlag
  8. ^ a b Jean-François Clément (1996), "Tanger avant le statut international de 1923", Horizons Maghrébins – le droit à la mémoire, 31–32
  9. ^ Itinéraires touristiques : La médina de Tanger (PDF), 2012, p. 18
  10. ^ a b c Asis Viladevall Marfá; Alfonso Sierra (1953), "Tanger, Zona Internacional" (PDF), Revista Nacional de Arquitectura, Madrid, 138
  11. ^ a b c d e Manley O. Hudson (April 1927), "The International Mixed Court of Tangier", The American Journal of International Law, Cambridge University Press, 21:2 (2): 231–237, doi:10.2307/2189123, JSTOR 2189123, S2CID 146925969
  12. ^ Stuart 1955, p. 80.
  13. ^ "Convention regarding the Organisation of the Tangier Zone, with Protocol relating to Two Dahirs concerning the Administration of the Tangier Zone and the Organisation of International Jurisdiction at Tangier, signed at Paris, December 18, 1923 [1924] LNTSer 187; 28 LNTS 541". 1924.
  14. ^ "Agreement revising the Convention of December 18, 1923, relating to the Organisation of the Statute of the Tangier Zone and Agreement, Special Provisions, Notes and Final Protocol relating thereto. Signed at Paris, July 25, 1928 [1929] LNTSer 68; 87 LNTS 211". 1928.
  15. ^ Richard Pennell (2003), Morocco: From Empire to Independence, Oxford: Oneworld, p. 154
  16. ^ Hamilton, Richard (12 October 2014). "How Morocco was once a haven for gay Westerners". BBC News. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  17. ^ Bond, Gwenda (2007). "Seriously Gay and Lesbian". Publishers Weekly. 254 (19): 27–31. ISSN 0000-0019.
  18. ^ Payne 1987, p. 268.
  19. ^ Payne 1987, p. 274, note 28.
  20. ^ "BOE núm. 336, pp. 8250–8251 (1940)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 December 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  21. ^ Beevor 2006, pp. 152, 464.
  22. ^ "Reestablishment of the International Regime in Tangiers". Department of State Bulletin. Department of State. XIII (330): 613–618. 21 October 1945.
  23. ^ "Tangier(s)", Jewish Virtual Library, archived from the original on 18 January 2012.
  24. ^ "Final Declaration of the International Conference in Tangier and annexed Protocol. Signed at Tangier, on 29 October 1956 [1957] UNTSer 130; 263 UNTS 165". 1956.
  25. ^ Juan Pando Despierto (2016). "Tánger, ciudad internacional". El Protectorado español en Marruecos: la historia trascendida.
  26. ^ "Ruta por el Tánger histórico". Guía de Marruecos. 10 March 2020.
  27. ^ Pierre Ichac (7 September 1940). "La fin du statut international de Tanger : Article et photographies publiés dans L'Illustration du 7 septembre 1940". Tangerinos.
  28. ^ "CPA AK Tanger, L'Administration Internationale, Maroc (720044)". HipPostcard.
  29. ^ a b Stuart 1945.
  30. ^ a b Francesco Tamburini (2007). "Il "tribunale misto" di Tangeri (1925–1952) – Balance of power, diritto e mentalità coloniale". Jura Gentium.
  31. ^ Juan Ramón Roca (19 August 2018). "Tánger, regreso al futuro". El País.
  32. ^ Morocco (Tangier Zone) Order in Council, 1925, "No. 33050". The London Gazette. 26 May 1925. pp. 3547–3548.
  33. ^ a b Kurt H. Nadelmann (Winter–Spring 1952), "Twenty-Five Years of Mixed Court of Tangier", The American Journal of Comparative Law, Oxford University Press, 1:1/2 (1/2): 115–117, JSTOR 837927
  34. ^ "First Instance Court of Tangier". MapsUs.net.
  35. ^ "Inauguration du nouveau siège du tribunal de première instance de Tanger". MAP Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima. 12 March 2021.

Works cited[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 35°46′N 5°48′W / 35.767°N 5.800°W / 35.767; -5.800