Joint Commission to Negotiate a Treaty
of Amity and Commerce with Morocco
The United States in Congress Assembled.
[11 March 1785]1
To all to whom these Presents shall come or be made known send Greeting:
Whereas We, reposing special Trust and Confidence in the Integrity, Prudence and Ability of our trusty and well beloved The Honorable John Adams, late one of our Ministers Plenipotentiary for negotiating a Peace, and heretofore a Delegate in Congress from the State of Massachusetts, and Chief Justice of the said State, The Honorable Doctor Benjamin Franklin our Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles, and late another of our Ministers Plenipotentiary for negotiating a Peace, and The Honorable Thomas Jefferson a Delegate in Congress from the State of Virginia and late Governor of the said State, did by our Commission under the Seal of the United States, and the Signature of our then President bearing date the twelfth Day of May in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty four, constitute and appoint them the said John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson our Ministers Plenipotentiary giving to them or a Majority of them full Power and Authority for Us and in our name to confer treat and negotiate with the Ambassador, Minister, or Commissioner of his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Morocco, vested with full and sufficient Powers, of and concerning a Treaty of Amity and Commerce, (as the Case may be) to make and receive Propositions for such Treaty, and to conclude and sign the same, transmitting it to the United States in Congress assembled for their final Ratification. And whereas it may so happen that the other great and various Affairs which we have committed to the Care and Management of our said Ministers Plenipotentiary, may not admit of their meeting the Minister or Commissioners which his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Morocco may appoint to treat with them of and concerning such Treaty, at a Time and Place that might otherwise be most convenient; Therefore Know Ye, That we do hereby authorize and empower our said three Ministers Plenipotentiary, and the Majority of them, by writing under their Hands and Seals, to appoint and employ, and at pleasure to remove, such Agent in the said Business as they or the Majority of them may think proper; which said Agent shall have Authority under the Directions and Instructions of our said Ministers, to commence and prosecute negotiations and Conferences for the said Treaty, with such Person or Persons on the Part of his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Morocco, as to our said Ministers or the Majority of them shall appear proper. Provided always That the Treaty in Question shall be signed by our said Ministers, but that preliminary Articles thereto, may, if previously approved of by our said Ministers or a Majority of them, be signed by the said Agent.—
In Testimony whereof We have caused the Seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed. Witness His Excellency Richard Henry Lee our President this eleventh Day of March in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty five, and of the Sovereignty and Independence of the United States of America the Ninth.—
Richard Henry Lee. P.
Attest Chas Thomson secy.
MS (Adams Papers); endorsed “Morocco.—”
1. Also in the Adams Papers are three joint commissions for negotiations with Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Except for two modifications, these four 11 March commissions are identical to those issued in May for negotiations with the Barbary States and various European countries, for which see the joint commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty of 12 May, and note 1, above. The differences are that the 11 March commissions omit a preamble avowing the “mutual advantage” of relations “founded on the principles of equality, reciprocity, and friendship” and include the provision permitting the commissioners to appoint an agent to conduct the actual negotiations that proceeded from Congress’ resolution of 14 Feb. 1785, for which see John Jay’s 11 March letter to the commissioners, above. The commissions probably were enclosed with that letter, and their text was used as the basis for the 11 Oct. commissions issued by JA and Thomas Jefferson—Benjamin Franklin having by then returned to America—to Thomas Barclay and John Lamb empowering them to act for the commissioners in negotiations with the Barbary States (Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950–. description ends , 8:611–613).