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Letter from George Washington to
Emperor Mohammed III of Morocco

The following is a facsimile of a letter preserved in the Moroccan Royal archives in Rabat. It is addressed to the ninth ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite Dynasty, a direct ancestor of the present King, H.M. Hassan II, who is seventeenth in the Alaouite line. The treaty mentioned is the “Treaty of peace and friendship”[1] signed by Morocco and the United States in 1787 for a duration of fifty years. It was renegotiated in 1836 and is still in force[2], constituting the longest unbroken treaty relationship in United States history.

The facsimile was provided to Moorish Mosque pursuant to our request.

To the Emperor of Morocco,
Great and magnanimous Friend

Since the date of the letter which the late Congress, by their President, addressed to your Imperial Majesty, the United States of America have thought proper to change their Government and to institute a new one, agreeable to the Constitution, of which I have the honor of herewith inclosing a copy. The time necessarily employed in this arduous task, and the derangements occasioned by so great, though peaceable a Revolution, will apologize and account for your Majesty’s not having received those regular advices, and marks of attention from the United States, which the Friendship and Magnanimity of your conduct towards them afforded reason to expect.

The United States, having unanimously appointed me to the supreme executive authority in this nation, your Majesty’s letter of the 17th of August 1788 which, by reason of the dissolution of the late Government, remained unanswered has been delivered to me. I have also received the letters, which your Imperial Majesty has been so kind as to write, in favor of the United States, to the Pashaws of Tunis and Tripoli, and I present to you the sincere acknowledgments and thanks of the United States for this important mark of your friendship for them.

The greatly regret that the hostile disposition of those regencies towards this nation, who have never injured them, is not to be removed on terms in our power to comply with. Within our territories there are no mines either of Gold or Silver, and 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 and commerce. But our soil is bountiful, and our people industrious, and we have reason to flatter ourselves that we shall gradually become useful to our friends.

The encouragement which your Majesty has been pleased, generously, to give to our Commerce with your Dominions, the punctuality with which you have caused the Treaty with us to be observed, and the just and generous measures taken in the case of Captain Proctor make a deep impression on the United States and confirm their respect for, and attachment to your Imperial Majesty.

It gives me pleasure to have this opportunity of assuring your Majesty that, while I remain at the head of this nation, I shall not cease to promote every measure that may conduce to the Friendship and Harmony which so happily subsist between your Empire and them, and shall esteem myself happy in every occasion of convincing your Majesty of the high sense (which in common with the whole nation) I entertain of the Magnanimity, Wisdom, and Benevolence of your Majesty.

In the course of the approaching winter, the national legislature (which is called by the former name of Congress) will assemble, and I shall take care that nothing be omitted that may be necessary to cause the correspondence between our two countries to be maintained and conducted in a manner agreeable to your Majesty and satisfactory to all the parties concerned in it.

May the Almighty bless your Imperial Majesty, our great and magnanimous Friend, with his constant guidance and protection.

Written at the City of New York the first day of December 1789.

George Washington

To our great and magnanimous Friend, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Morocco.


[1]   Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, includes the Treaty Clause, which empowers the president of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements, which must be confirmed by the Senate, between the United States and other countries, which become treaties between the United States and other countries after the advice and consent of a supermajority of the United States Senate.

[2]  Moroccan American Cultural Center/MACC (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.” - See more at:

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