Save America’s Treasured Legation

Does TALIM pass the SAT* test? TALIM National Historic Landmark

*SAT stands for Save America's Treasures, a US National Park Service program which, according to the NPS, "is one of the largest and most successful grant programs for the protection of our nation’s endangered and irreplaceable cultural heritage."

TALIM Board members, Fellows, Friends of the Legation, interested citizens, and motivated readers are requested to read the SAT definition of "national significance" (below, in italics), with my accompanying comments (in red).  I would ask that those interested in safeguarding our treasure here in Tangier – but who live in the US, maybe even in Washington D.C. – might approach the NPS with a view to TALIM getting needed assistance in the quest to preserve this "nationally significant" historical landmark.

The only one, we never cease to repeat, located outside the United States.

I eagerly await your feedback.

– – – – – – –

The quality of national significance is ascribed to collections and historic properties that possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the intellectual and cultural heritage and the built environment of the United States, that possess a high degree of integrity and that:

• Are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to, and are identified with, or that outstandingly represent the broad patterns of United States history and culture and from which an understanding and appreciation of those patterns may be gained;

[Events: First recognition of the United States of America by a foreign ruler, oldest continuously-occupied diplomatic property, Barbary wars and their aftermath, site of international negotiations (Cap Spartel Treaty, considered a precursor to League of Nations and United Nations), scene of earliest acitivities of OSS prior to Operation Torch in World War II, etc., etc.] or,

• Are associated importantly with the lives of persons nationally significant in the United States history or culture;

[Persons: George Washington's correspondence with Moroccan Sultan establishing one of America's oldest treaties still in force, announcement of the assasination of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt's gunboat diplomacy to free kidnapped American, Dwight Eisenhower's visit to newly-independent Morocco, etc., etc.] or,

• Represent great historic, cultural, artistic or scholarly ideas or ideals of the American people;

[Cultural: Tangier, home of American writer Paul Bowles for over a half century, with TALIM the repository of his newly-digitized Library of Congress recordings of Moroccan folk music.  Artistic: the Legation Museum, with its collection of American, Moroccan, and European art and historic maps.  Scholarship: TALIM, American Institute of Maghrib Studies (AIMS) research center for Morocco, with its renowned library and facilities for exchange scholars.  Etc., etc.] or,

• Embody the distinguishing characteristics of a resource type that:

   • Is exceptionally valuable for the study of a period or theme of United States history or culture;

[Period, theme: The American relationship with Morocco from the first days of American independence, with Tangier the focus for almost two centuries.  The sole remaining example of a diplomatic presence in an Arab medina.  American diplomats as co-adminstrators of the Tangier International Zone.  Etc., etc.] or

    • Represents a significant, distinctive and exceptional entity whose components may lack individual distinction but that collectively form an entity of exceptional historical, artistic or cultural significance (e.g., an historic district with national significance),

[Exceptional entity: TALIM's partnership with Moroccan cultural preservation organizations to enhance life in the historic medina.  Projects in urban renewal, literacy program in Arabic for medina women.  Etc., etc.] or

    • Outstandingly commemorates or illustrates a way of life or culture;

[Way of life: American diplomacy in the midst of the population of a walled Arab city or medina.  The oldest of the Department of State's "Culturally Significant Properties."  Tangier as magnet for polyglot multicultural expatriates.  Etc., etc.] or,

    • Have yielded or may yield information of major importance by revealing or by shedding light upon periods or themes of United States history or culture.

[Yielding information: Wartime Legation Chargé d'Affaires lauded for saving European Jews from concentration camps.  Documentation on Moroccan efforts on behalf of Muslim slaves in pre-Civil War America.  Etc., etc.]

Historic Property Projects
The historic property will be considered to be nationally significant according to the definition of "National Significance" listed above if it meets one of the following criteria:

• Designated as a National Historic Landmark or located within and contributing to a historic district that is designated as a National Historic Landmark District.

[The Tangier American Legation is the only US National Historic Landmark located outside the United States.]

– – – – – – –

There.  Now it's up to you.  I'm here in Tangier, with my small staff of dedicated Moroccans, who are trying their utmost to maintain this corner of American heritage that certainly is a treasure worth saving.  Take this information and run with it.  Write to the National Park Service, write to your members of Congress and Senators.  Make sure that this unique institution does not suffer the fate of other worthy landmarks.

And get us some of that SAT grant funding.

Gerald Loftus

1 thought on “Save America’s Treasured Legation”

  1. I heartily endorse your efforts. I recently obtained
    National Register of Historic Places designation for an
    artist’s home/studio here in Michigan after many weeks
    effort but believe it was worth it. “Landmarks” are an order of magnitude above and require the kind of profes-
    ialism you can bring to the project. Good luck,
    Anita M. Gilleo, longtime member

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.