Tangier American Legation

Tangier, Morocco

On May 1, 2024, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Tangier American Legation to its annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered properties in a ceremony at the National Museum of American Diplomacy in Washington, D.C.
Learn more here.

View recorded remarks of U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Puneet Talwar regarding the 11 Most Endangered Listing below.

America’s First Foreign Property

U.S. Consul John Mullowny could not have known the lasting symbolism of his act when he raised America’s 23-star flag in 1821 above the whitewashed walls of the Tangier U.S. Legation. Mullowny had just taken possession of the first overseas property owned by the United States Government, a handsome 18th Century Moorish building presented to the American people earlier that year by Moroccan Sultan Moulay Suliman. The gift cemented a friendship begun 44 years earlier when Sultan Moulay Abdullah offered trade and protection to American ships, making Morocco one of the first nations to recognize the young United States. The Moroccan American Treaty of Friendship, signed in 1786 and still in force, initiated America’s longest unbroken international relationship.


A Diplomatic Post for a Record 140 Years

The Tangier American Legation served as a U.S. embassy, consulate, and official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco in the walled city from the 1820s to 1956. It served as a consulate until 1961. The Legation came to symbolize the long history of Moroccan-American diplomatic, trade and security cooperation. During World War II, the Legation housed the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in North Africa. Its association with Operation Torch, under Dwight D. Eisenhower’s command, and the Office of Strategic Services, directed by “Wild Bill” Donovan, added military and intelligence facets to the building’s diplomatic and cultural legacy. In 1949, the Tangier Legation was one of the first foreign service posts to host a U.S. Marine Security Guard detachment. In recognition of its historic importance, the Legation earned a unique distinction in 1982 as the only foreign site to be designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

Preserving a Vibrant Treasure in the Medina

After two centuries of service and symbolism, the Tangier American Legation requires extensive preservation, restoration and upgrades. Since 1976, the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) has leased the property from the U.S. government and operates the complex in the heart of Tangier’s historic medina as a museum, research library, and cultural center. TALIM serves the community through various educational programs, such as women’s literacy and skills training, and offers a robust variety of cultural activities for residents and visitors alike. The Tangier American Legation is on every tourist’s and scholar’s itinerary. The museum attracts over 30,000 visitors each year. Two centuries––and 27 stars––after the U.S. flag was first raised over its storied walls, the structure and site need help, including:

  • Structural Stabilization & Repair: The Legation needs urgent structural stabilization and repairs. The demolition of a neighboring building compromised the Legation’s research library, necessitating its closure and relocation of valuable collections and archival materials. The building’s location in a region with seismic activity adds another layer of complexity and urgency.
  • Systems Upgrades: New plumbing and electrical systems are needed as well as improved climate stabilization to protect TALIM’s collections and the buildings stunning decorative finishes.

    Maintenance & Security: Because American personnel are no longer stationed at the Legation, the Legation has no dedicated funding to cover $75,000 in annual upkeep expenses and an additional $50,000 in annual security costs. Stopgap solutions do not provide the level of stewardship needed for this irreplaceable landmark.

You can make difference today!

You are invited to be part of preserving this irreplaceable treasure for another 200 years! Your contribution—at any level—will help establish a $10 million preservation endowment to keep the Tangier American Legation – an envoy of diplomacy – thriving for America’s 250th and beyond. Your gift is important because it will also help ensure that TALIM continues to operate the complex in the heart of Tangier’s historic media and share the Legation’s stories on the importance of diplomacy, peace and international friendship while providing essential women’s literacy and life skills training.

Support This Project

The Fund to Conserve has launched a fundraising effort to help address significant structural repairs and raise a $10 million endowment over the next three years. If you, or your company or organization, are interested in joining this effort, please contact our director Andrea Cochrane Tracey at: AndreaTracey@FundtoConserve.org. We look forward to hearing from you!