The Tangier Old Legation & Operation Torch

80 years ago, on November 8, 1942, the Tangier American Legation ventured into war – quietly. The Legation’s small group of diplomats, military attachés, and agents of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of today’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), huddled in a cramped closet called the “listening room.” They were serving as the leading edge of Operation Torch, the first major Allied amphibious assault of World War II. In fact, at the time, it was the largest amphibious military landing ever undertaken.

The team in the listening room supported over 100,000 American and British troops as they went up against German forces for the first time, and prevailed. Their commander, Lt. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, soon became a household name – and the Legation added another remarkable chapter to its storied history.

Today, new stories are created almost daily as the Legation is home to the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM), a museum, research library and cultural center. In November 2022, to mark the 80th anniversary and historic significance of Operation Torch, TALIM opened a new permanent exhibition “The Legation, Morocco and World War II.”  The famed listening room is part of the exhibition which explores how the war transformed U.S. – Morocco relations.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into one of the many chapters in the history of the Tangier Old Legation, America’s only National Historic Landmark abroad.