Washington, DC (July 18, 2012) — Today marks the 225th anniversary of the US Senate’s 1787 vote to ratify what is now the longest standing treaty in America’s history — the US-Morocco “Treaty of Peace and Friendship.” More than two centuries later, the treaty continues to define the special and strategic relationship between two of the oldest and closest allies across the Atlantic.
Formal relations between Morocco and the US began in 1777, when Morocco became the first country to recognize the American colonies as a nation. As George Washington and his troops took the field to make good on the Continental Congress’ Declaration of Independence, the Sultan of Morocco, Mohammed III, granted American ships recognition and safe passage through the Straits of Gibraltar and in Moroccan ports.
Negotiations began in 1783 on a formal treaty of commerce and friendship, which was signed in 1786 by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. On July 18, 1787, Congress ratified the treaty, which set forth the framework for diplomatic relations, assurances of non-hostility, access to markets on “most favored nation” basis, and protection of US ships from attack by foreign vessels in Moroccan waters.
As US President in 1789, George Washington wrote Mohammed III to thank him for Morocco’s support:
“This young nation, just recovering from the waste and desolation of a 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… I shall not cease to promote every measure that may conduce to the friendship and harmony which so happily subsist between your empire and [the US].”
During World War II, Morocco hosted the Casablanca Conference in 1943 to plan Allied strategy in Europe;
In 1963, Morocco was among the first countries to invite the Peace Corps to assist in development projects;
The Moroccan American Cultural Center (MACC) is a not-for-profit 501 c(3) organization which works to build stronger cultural and educational ties between Morocco and the US through its support of programs that enhance bilateral relations and cooperation. Created in 2003 as an initiative of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, MACC has undertaken a range of projects which include hosting events that celebrate and share the rich diversity of Moroccan culture, and supporting programs that enhance cultural and educational ties between the US and Morocco as well as across the Maghreb. For more information, go to www.moroccoonthemove.com.