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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957
Volume XVIII, Africa, Document 159


159. Letter From Prime Minister Bin Halim to the Ambassador in Libya (Tappin)11. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.73/5–756. Enclosure to despatch 378, May 7.

No. 334/Aleph/16

EXCELLENCY: I have the honor to refer to your letter of April 20, 1956, in which you stated that your Government desired reassurances concerning the present attitude of the Government of the United Kingdom of Libya with regard to the firm friendship and understanding which has always existed between our two Governments.22. Tappin’s note, which discouraged any Libyan turn to the “untried and unknown”, was also an enclosure to despatch 378. You stated further that your Government’s position with regard to aid to Libya could not be influenced by considerations arising from offers of aid from other sources but that your Government’s decisions concerning assistance to Libya which were mentioned in the two notes which were exchanged between us April 433. Enclosures to despatch 372 from Tripoli, May 4. (Department of State, Central Files, 773.5–MSP/5–456) had been based on the assumption that the Government of the United Kingdom of Libya would not be willing to place in danger its independence and collaboration with the United States by accepting offers from sources whose intent is to damage the relations between the Government of the United Kingdom of Libya and the Government of the United States of America.

The policy of my Government, as I have already informed Your Excellency on numerous occasions, most recently on January 18,44. See Document 151. and March 22, 1956,55. See Document 157. has been and will continue to be a policy of free voluntary and independent cooperation with the Government of the United States of America and the Free World. This has been the policy of Libya since its independence and your Government may rest assured that it will continue to be so.

In our conversation of January 18, 1956, referred to above, you inquired concerning certain aspects of the policy of the Libyan Government which are of paramount importance to the Government of the United States of America and to the preservation of the spirit and intent of the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Libya, signed at Benghazi on September 9, 1954. I wish to confirm to Your Excellency my statement of the position of the Libyan Government with regard to these points in order that there may be no possible misunderstanding of the Libyan Government’s position in this regard.

The Government of the United Kingdom of Libya, when it agreed to exchange diplomatic representatives with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, did so in keeping with its sovereign right to conduct its foreign affairs in the manner it deems most desirable. It is my understanding that your Government in no way questions the sovereign right of the Libyan Government to take this action, but that your Government is concerned lest the Soviet Embassy undertake activities which might endanger Libyan-American relations or the security of the American military installations and operations in Libya. The Libyan Government does not propose to permit any foreign power to disrupt relations between it and the United States and you may reassure your Government as follows:

(1) The Soviet Diplomatic Mission in Libya will be required to restrict its staff to normal size and activities.

(2) The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will not be permitted to open an information center or a cultural center in Libya.

(3) The Soviet Embassy will not be permitted to establish or operate a radio transmitter.

(4) The Libyan Government will not grant a petroleum concession in Libya to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

(5) The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will not be granted any access to Libyan air space.

Naturally the above policy will also apply to those countries which are satellites of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or whose policies are directed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I wish further to inform you that the Libyan Government has rejected the offer of assistance which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics recently offered and that the Libyan Government’s policy is that acceptance of any other offers of economic, military or technical assistance will be limited to those which do not endanger Libyan-American relations.

Mustafa Ben Halim66. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

1 Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.73/5–756. Enclosure to despatch 378, May 7.

2 Tappin’s note, which discouraged any Libyan turn to the “untried and unknown”, was also an enclosure to despatch 378.

3 Enclosures to despatch 372 from Tripoli, May 4. (Department of State, Central Files, 773.5–MSP/5–456)

4 See Document 151.

5 See Document 157.

6 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.