Maroc-Tangiers MT international zone

Another notable photo-capture of member EU83 is of the short-lived issue to the international settlement of TANGIERS, an enclave in Morocco, facing Gibraltar across the Straits.    The plates followed the British style of the times (and might have been made across in Gibraltar, half-an-hour away on the ferry.)

T-4145 is seen here in 1940s London.

(From 1661-4, TANGIERS was a possession of the British Crown.)

Daimler(?) T-4145 from Tangiers, in Oxford durin 1947.

Standard 14 or Daimler(?) T-4145 from Tangiers, in Oxford during 1947.  Also bearing a British Foreign-Visitor’s registration, QC 8825.

An example of a territory which was not party to the treaties permitting free circulation of foreign vehicles, was the TANGIERS international enclave, and to visit Britain after the WW2, this owner was given QC (foreign visitor to Britain) plates to permit his entry.      Q-C was allocated to, and handed out by, the the Royal Automobile Association (RAC), as were Q-D and Q-H.        The RAC and AA  auto clubs assisted travellers with the considerable documentation required for international travel in those times – Motor Insurance, Carnets (partly to prevent the sale of cars in foreign countries), supply of International Ovals (seldom available in the originating countries) and so on.


T 50 & T 11259.   Evidence of diplomatic activity in TANGIERS is given by these pictures below, 11259, circa 1953.

The system existed until 1956, when the TANGIERS internationally-administered zone  was re-incorporated into the Kingdom of Morocco.    You have to be fairly elderly, by now, to have seen one of these in circulation!

Most interesting explanatory notes are given below, by Thierry Baudoin, who studies the Conventions regulating international vehicle movement.  (See Comments).

An early Tangiers number T 50, used by a diplomat

An early Tangiers number T 50, used by a diplomat

T 11259 from the MV archive.

T 11259 from the MV archive.

5 Responses to Maroc-Tangiers MT international zone

  1. Hello Vic,

    Very interesting pictures ! It is very difficult to find photos with the MT oval. Tangiers was also occupied by Spain during World War II.

  2. Thierry Baudin says:

    I share Bernt’s comments about interest and rarity…

    MT is a good example of a non “official” oval, meaning that it has not been defined by the organization hosting the treaty. Tangiers was not a party to the 1926 treaty. I do not know what in the political background of the time prevented it. There was an international agreement on Tangiers’ status (thank you, Vic for the link to Wikipedia article, which is very clear about that) and the countries participating in that agreement could have requested the admission of Tangiers to that 1926 treaty/convention.
    In a similar way, Saare (SAAR) and Danzig were parties to both the 1909 and 1926 treaties.

    After the Spanish war, it is not certain that SPAIN (in whose territory the MT enclave lay) would have agreed the status for TANGIERS (its occupation after 1940 would have frozen the process anyway, and later Spain was not invited to the 1949 conference and it was only admitted to the treaty in 1958.) But, during the period 1924-1936, there had been theoretically nothing to prevent its approval of TANGIERS as a Free City.

    • Thierry Baudin says:

      I checked further about Tangiers and realise now that one half of my today’s post is not correct… In fact Tangiers did participate in the 1926 convention from August 29th, 1935. The MT oval was likely set at this time (it had not been reserved in 1926). So MT WAS “official”.
      On the other hand the picture dated 1947 (with “foreign tourist” plates, whereas UK was a party of the treaty) gives new evidence that Tangiers did not belong to the Convention after WW2.

      As mentioned, Spain’s wartime occupation, and the fact that Spain was left aside from this kind of international agreement in the ’40s and ’50s, are possible explanations for the change.

  3. Very interesting theory, Thierry….. The whole subject of enclaves is fascinating – Tangiers, Saar, Danzig, Vatican and Trieste, too – and even today the existence of San Marino, Lichtenstein and Monaco seem to be accidents of history, now unlikely to ever be combined with their ‘host’ countries. And what does the future hold for Ceuta and Melilla?

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