His Majesty King Hassan II of Morocco, making his first state visit to the United States, comes to the U.S. within the framework of a long tradition of friendship with America. As a youthful prince, His Majesty Hassan II accompanied his father, his Majesty the late King Mohammed V, to the Casablanca Conference in 1943. There King Mohammed V had cordial talks with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and established a close personal rapport with the great war leader.
Morocco was at that time a French Protectorate and was considered an important ally of the anti-Nazi forces. With the outbreak of the war against Germany, the Moroccan people had unreservedly put their resources behind the French War effort. With the fall of France to Germany, Morocco had for a time continued under Vichy domination, but with the liberation of North Africa, the Kingdom under the leadership of His Majesty Mohammed V was in the forefront of the Allied cause.
The period of Vichy domination was not without difficulty. His Majesty Mohammed V, who at that time held the title of Sultan under the French Protectorate, at one point rebelled against the Petain government's directives to put anti-Jewish regulations into force in keeping with the Nazi Nuremberg laws. His Majesty Mohammed V, in objecting, declared that Moroccan jews enjoyed the same rights and privileges possessed by their Moslem fellow citizens, and the Sultan refused point blank to discriminate against them.
Thus when the Sultan and the president met, their talks progressed in an atmosphere of extreme friendship. President Roosevelt was mindful of the long history of cordial American-Moroccan relations.
Among the items brought to the United States by His Majesty King Hassan Il on his current state visit is a copy of a letter written to one of the His Majesty 's ancestors, Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, by George Washington.
The American treaty of friendship with Morocco, signed in 1786, had been drafted by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
Later, in 1820, the Sultan gave further evidence of his friendship with America, presenting the United States with a palace in Tangier. The building is still used by the American consul in that city, and America is the only country ever to receive such an honor from the government of Morocco.
George Washington 's letter of 1789 set the tone for American-Moroccan relations in