Iconic Landmark of American Diplomacy in Tangier, Morocco Named to Annual List of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places”

Deputy Secretary of State Richard R. Verma: “The Tangier Legation is a powerful symbol of American diplomacy and of our nation’s longstanding ties with the Islamic world.”

On May 1, 2024, The National Trust for Historic Preservation named an iconic overseas diplomatic compound to its annual list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” The Tangier American Legation is the United States’ only National Historic Landmark located abroad, and the first overseas U.S. government property to be designated as endangered by the National Trust. Because of its unique role in U.S. history, the designation of the Tangier American Legation was announced at the National Museum of American Diplomacy at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC.

The storied buildings in Tangier symbolize the United States’ long friendship with Morocco, launched in 1777 when Sultan Mohammed III became the first head of state to recognize the fledgling nation as it was battling Great Britain in the American War of Independence. The aged complex served a record 140 years as a U.S. diplomatic mission.

Overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, the Tangier American Legation (link images) elegantly integrates Moorish and Spanish architectural styles. But this historic icon of American diplomacy is in dire need of restoration to preserve its ongoing role as a vibrant cultural and educational center visited by tens of thousands of Moroccans, Americans, North Africans, and others each year.

While the United States still owns the property gifted by a sultan in the early 1800s, it is no longer used for diplomatic purposes and lacks sufficient maintenance funding. But the recent collapse of an adjacent building, along with a history of seismic activity in the region, have forced the closure of the Legation’s library and the relocation of valuable artifacts and books.

Given these challenges and the Legation’s inclusion on the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, the nonprofit Fund to Conserve United States Diplomatic Treasures Abroad today launched a new phase in its campaign to raise $10 million in private funds to restore and preserve the Legation. “The Legation must compete for resources with active diplomatic posts for which there is not sufficient maintenance funding. Keeping its vibrant legacy alive offers a timely opportunity for those who value cultural diplomacy and architectural preservation to honor its unparalleled place in our nation’s history,” said Andrea Cochrane Tracey, the Fund to Conserve’s executive director. Donations to restore the Legation building may be made through https://fundtoconserve.org/how-to-support/.

Since 1976, the property has been leased to the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM), which operates the complex as a museum, academic library, and cultural center. TALIM’s educational programs include women’s literacy and skills training, as well as cultural activities for residents and visitors.

“The Tangier Legation is a powerful symbol of American diplomacy and of our nation’s longstanding ties with the Islamic world,” said Deputy Secretary of State Richard R. Verma. “But the Legation needs help, and this listing will bring needed attention and resources, ensuring it continues to thrive as an active center celebrating the friendship between our countries.”

Verma was joined by Carol Quillen, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Youssef Amrani, Kingdom of Morocco Ambassador to the United States; and Ms. Tracey. Video statements were provided by Puneet Talwar, the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco and Ambassador William H. Moser, Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.

“Including this site on the 11 Most Endangered List highlights the historic global reach of American diplomacy,” said Quillen. “The Tangier American Legation, operated by Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM), is now an important cultural center, museum, and research library for the surrounding community and visitors. The building itself also represents centuries of long-standing friendship between the United States and Morocco. The Tangier American Legation therefore needs to be preserved for both what it represents and the people it now serves.”

The five-story, 45-room American Legation complex, which bridges the Rue d’Amerique in the medina, or old city, of Tangier, has served as a U.S. embassy, a consulate, and the official residence of U.S. ambassadors to the Kingdom of Morocco. It also played a key role in the U.S.’s military and intelligence history during World War II, specifically Operation Torch, under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with TALIM, has recently designed a new interpretive master plan for enhancing the Tangier American Legation Museum. Its fulfillment will further the Legation’s 200-year-long mission of promoting democracy and diplomacy between the two nations. The plan was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Morocco.


The Fund to Conserve United States Diplomatic Treasures Abroad was founded in 2012 to raise awareness and build private sector support for the U.S. State Department’s heritage buildings and collections. The Fund to Conserve is as an independent, non-profit, nonpartisan, private sector partner to the U.S. Department of State, Overseas Buildings Operations, Office of Cultural Heritage. More at fundtoconserve.org.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. SavingPlaces.org | @savingplaces