865.014/6–1948: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Deputy for the Former Italian Colonies of the Council of Foreign Ministers (Douglas)

top secret

2334. Colit 72. Principal reason leading Dept to indicate in response to Fonoff suggestion it would be glad hold further conversations with Michael Wright at this time was belief that Deputies would begin discussion actual disposition of territories involved about middle July (Embtel 2714 Jun 19).1

It now appears Commission will not complete report on Libya until Jul 6 and suggestion was made in 28th meeting Deptitcol2 that timetable be changed so that Deputies would not begin preparation reports until about Aug 2. This revised timetable would greatly facilitate Depts immediate task in finalizing its position. US Commissioner should therefore discreetly take all possible steps to ensure that report on Libya not completed until Jul 6 at earliest and US Deputy should continue insist on revision timetable suggested Itcol 136.3

While the risk that Wright’s presence in Washington would lead to undesirable publicity connecting his visit with Palestine does not seem very great, we recognize that this risk does exist. We are therefore informing Britemb of foregoing instructions to US Deputy and Commissioner and adding that in view this development, we would prefer postpone talks with Michael Wright for further period three weeks, at which time our position should be more developed and conversations more fruitful. We are suggesting they might be held week Jul 11, which should leave sufficient time for review of position in case of divergencies and for talks with French before having take position in Deputies meeting about Aug 2. We would also prefer defer decision as to whether talks should be held Washington or London until about a week before that time. Meanwhile, we would greatly appreciate Brit support in working for revised timetable.

[Page 916]

Although Dept feels it has well-rounded picture Brit ideas on Libya, it has had no recent indication Brit thinking on Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. It would be of greatest help to Dept if it could obtain indication Brit thinking these territories soonest possible, particularly whether Brit attach any strategic importance either territory.

  1. Not printed.
  2. June 16, 1948; the suggestion was made by Utter.
  3. Not printed; the revised timetable called for: July 17, dispatch of report on Libya to interested governments; July 27–August 1, hearings of interested governments; August 2–11, preparation of the Deputies’ report; August 12, presentation of report to the Council of Foreign Ministers.