Introduction 5 1785-1797: Treaty Negotiations and Implementation 6



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The United States Mission in Algeria
A Historical Sketch

Christopher Ross, April 1991

(Ambassador to Algeria 1988-1991)

Table of Contents


Introduction 5

1785-1797: Treaty Negotiations and Implementation 6

Algiers 6

American Shipping 6

The Threat 6

A Policy Debate 6

Captain John Lamb 7

The Treaty of 1795 7

John Paul Jones 7

Salary and Cost of Living Surveys 7

1797-1830: Dealings with the Dey 9

Richard O’Brien 9

Algiers Bicentennial 9

Algiers and the Roots of FSI 10

The Corsairs and the Birth of the Navy 10

The Dey’s Exactions 10

Naval Confrontation 11

Treaties of 1815 and 1816 11

The American Example 11

The Lees of Virginia Fly the Flag 12

An Account of the Fighting 12

An American Loses His Own Head 12



1830-1941: Visitors and Victrolas 13

Early Political Flair 13

A First Codel 13

Tourism Begins 14

American Orientalists 14

F. Scott Fitzgerald 14

Commercial Promotion 15

Foreign Service Memorial 15

A Consular Diary 15

On travel to the U.S. 16

On Clearing Shipments 16

On driving 16

A Riddle 16

On Visa Regulations 16

On immigration: 16

A Prediction 16

On the Political Situation 17

On Economic Conditions 17

On Oil 17

1941-1945: Diplomats Among Warriors 18

Murphy-Weygand Agreement 18

FDR’s Representative 18

Submarine Cloak and Dagger 18

Operation Torch 18

Allied Headquarters 19

VIP Visitors 19

Early Contacts with Algerian Nationalists 19

A Diplomatic Mission 20

Consulates in Bône and Oran 20

Expectations for the Future 20

Repatriation of War Dead 21



1945-1962: The Wolves in the City 22

Acquisition of Montfeld 22

Acquisition of Mustapha Raïs 22

French Complaints 22

JFK Speaks Out 23

French Settlers Attack Facilities 23

Consulate General Moves 24

Algerian-American Contacts 24

Constantine and Oran Consulates Open 24

Algerian Independence 24



1962-1973: A difficult Beginning 25

From the White House to Havana 25

Early Assistance to Algeria 25

Political Chill Sets In 26

Constantine Center Closed 26

Diplomatic Relations Broken 26

Algerian Diplomacy Ascendant 26

Presence Further Reduced 27

Constantine Consulate Closed 27

Commercial Relations Blossom 27

Gas Cooperation 27

An Astronaut Visits 28



1973-1991: A period of Pragmatism 29

Relations Restored 29

Political Relations Initially Cool 29

Commercial Relations Bear Fruit 30

Bedjedid Succeeds Boumediene 30

Military Sales Begin 30

Disaster Assistance 30

Tehran Hostage Negotiations 30

Visits Exchanged and Agreements Signed 31

Growth in Programs and Staff 32

LNG: The U.S. Market Reestablished 32

Focus on Reforms 33

The Gulf War 33

Appendix 34

Post Premises Through the Years 34

Algiers 34



1785-1830: Town and Country 34

1796: New Year’s Ruckus in Town 34

1796: Two Houses Justified 34

1797: Two Houses Accepted 34

1808: Romantic Country Houses 34

1809: Party Time 35

1825: Fancy Digs in Town 35

1827: Summer Heat 36

1830: A Handy Flag 36

1991: A footnote 37

1830-1913: Frequent Moves 37

1913-1961: Long Leases 38

1913-25: On the Seafront 38

1925-40: Across from the Police 38

1940-61: Near the Sacred Heart 38

1961-Present: On the Heights 39

Oran 39


1943-46: A Wartime Consulate 39

1962-Present: A Peacetime Consulate 39

Constantine 39



1962-72: A Consulate for a Decade 39

Bône (Annaba) 40



The U.S. and The French Occupation of 1830 41

The Allied Landings of 1942 43

Introduction


The United States has been represented in Algeria since the earliest days of the Republic. Beginning in 1785 – only two years after independence – special envoys were designated to negotiate a treaty of friendship and amity. In 1797, our first resident Consul General arrived.
The history of American involvement in Algeria since those early days is rich in events. This sketch is an attempt to give Americans visiting and working in Algeria a sense of these events, to encourage further reading, and to stimulate future weekend historians to add to the record. It is based on a review of published materials and unpublished Embassy files and emphasizes interesting snapshots over comprehensive analysis.
Those interested in the flavor of earlier times may wish to review the first sections. For today’s practitioner, the last sections will prove most informative. Three appendices, with additional details for the history-minded, are attached.
Special thanks are due to two Algiers alumni, Richard Parker (Principal Officer/Ambassador 1974-77) and Robert Pelletreau (Political Officer 1973-75), for having encouraged my taste for diplomatic history and for supplying me with many relevant materials.
Montfeld, April 1, 1991

1785-1797: Treaty Negotiations and Implementation


One of the first foreign policy issues that confronted our new Republic after 1783 was politico-military: the achievement of independence meant that American shipping in and near the Mediterranean could no longer count on the British navy for protection against the Barbary corsairs of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Salé (Rabat).


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