Roosevelt vs. Churchill in Casablanca --
From Elliott Roosevelt's Book: As I Saw It

Excerpt printed in The American Almanac, July 14, 1997.


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- Casablanca -
"A New Future for My Country!"

With the Sultan at Father's right and Churchill at his left, the dinner began. The P.M. began it in highest spirits--but as the conversation proceeded, Churchill grew more and more disgruntled. What was the trouble? Father and the Sultan were animatedly chatting about the wealth of natural resources in French Morocco, and the rich possibilities for their development. They were having a delightful time, their French--not Mr. Churchill's strongest language--easily encompassing the question of the elevation of living standards of the Moroccans and--the point--of how this would of necessity entail an important part of the country's wealth being retained within its own boundaries.

The Sultan expressed a keen desire to obtain the greatest possible aid in securing for his land modern educational and health standards.

Father pointed out that, to accomplish this, the Sultan should not permit outside interests to obtain concessions which would drain off the country's resources.

Churchill attempted to change the subject.

The Sultan, picking up the thread again, raised the question of what Father's advice would entail insofar as the French government of the future was concerned.

Fahter, balancing his fork, remaked cheerfully enough that the postwar scene would, of course differ sharply, especialy as they related to the colonial question.

Churchill coughed and again plunged into conversation along different lines.

Politely, the Sultan inquired more specifically, what did Father mean,``differ sharply''?

Father, dropping in a remark about the past relationship between French and British financiers combined into self-perpetuating syndicates for the purpose of dredging riches out of colonies, went on to raise the question of possible oil deposits in French Morocco.

The Sultan eagerly pounced on this; declared himself decidedly in favor of developing any such potentialities, retaining the income therefrom; then sadly shook his head as he deplored the lack of trained scientists and engineers among his countrymen, technicians who would be able to develop such fields unaided.

Churchill shifted uneasily in his chair.

Father suggested mildly that Moroccan engineers and scientists could, of course, be educated and trained under some sort of reciprocal educational program with, for instance, some of our leading universities in the United States.

Father pursued his point toying with his water glass. He mentioned that it might easily be practicable for the Sultan to engage firms--American firms--to carry out the development program he had in mind, on a fee or percentage basis. Such an arrangement, he urged, would have the advantage of enabling the sovereign government of French Morocco to retain considerable control over its own resources, obtain the major part of any incomes flowing from such resources, and indeed, eventually take them over completely.

Churchill snorted and tried not to listen.

It was a delightful dinner, everybody--with one exception--enjoying himself completely. As we rose from the table, the Sultan assured Father that, promptly on the heels of the war's close, he would petition the United States for aid in the development of his country. His face glowed. ``A new future for my country!''

Glowering, biting at his cigar, Britain's Prime Minister followed the Sultan out of the dining room.

--As I Saw It

Elliot Roosevelt


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The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.


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