Editorial Note

From July 19 to July 22 officials of the United States (George L. Jones, Joseph Palmer, John E. Utter) and the United Kingdom (Michael Wright, Sir Noel Charles, R.D.J. Scott Fox, George Clutton) met in London to discuss the Italian Colonies. At the first two sessions they considered Libya. The British developed the following [Page 923] position: Libya was a fundamental strategic factor in the Middle East; the British desired Libya’s eventual independence; they strongly preferred a joint American-British responsibility over all Libya or an American trusteeship over Tripolitania and a British trusteeship over Cyrenaica; they could not support the return of Tripolitania to Italy, but would not oppose a French trusteeship over the Fezzan.

The United States declined participation in any trusteeship and felt the strategic necessities of the Middle East could be met by a British trusteeship in Cyrenaica. The American officials then proposed the return of Italian refugees to the colonies.

While the British saw advantages in a partition of Eritrea between the Sudan and Ethiopia and opposed returning it to Italy, they were uncertain whether such a gesture in Eritrea would make Italy more amenable to a British trusteeship in Libya. The American officials emphasized that the Department of State was still undecided on the disposition of Eritrea.

As to Italian Somaliland, both countries favored its return to Italy.

Finally the American and British representatives agreed to coordinate their tactics at the Council of Foreign Ministers for the Italian Colonies and at the United Nations and agreed that they were handicapped by the lack of final decisions on the disposition of the colonies in Washington and London.

Documentation on these meetings is in telegrams 3274, 3318, 3319, 3324, and 3341 from London, file 865.014/7–1948, 2148, 2248; none printed.