865.014/7–2348: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

top secret

2898. For info Ambassador and Palmer. Pres today approved NSC Report1 Itcol containing following conclusions:

  • “1. Position of US in any international negotiations on disposition Italian colonies should not be so rigid as deprive US of requisite flexibility in discussions. In general, policy US should be to favor following disposition Italian colonies, with appropriate safeguards for protection minority groups:
    • a. Libya. Carry out commitment support British in their efforts obtain trusteeship for Cyrenaica, and at same time support British trusteeship for Tripolitania. If British prefer, single trusteeship over whole of Libya would be acceptable.
      Terms of trusteeship should specify that at end of ten years question of self-government for people of territory should be reviewed [Page 924] by Trusteeship Council; and in meanwhile Italian settlers might return to territory under appropriate safeguards and Italian technical personnel might be employed in development of territory.
    • b. Fezzan. Should be included in trusteeship for Tripolitania, but it should be kept in mind that French are in military occupation and it will be difficult prevail upon them evacuate area unless we can reach agreement with them regarding its future disposition. Area is not sufficiently important to risk major disagreement with French.
    • c. Eritrea. Final decision as to US position to be made after exploratory conversations with British.
    • d. Italian Somaliland. To be placed under Italian trusteeship, under terms which would provide for eventual self-government but which would not fix period of time within which area would become self-governing. If British should so propose, British Somaliland might be included in trust territory.
    • e. Border Rectifications. Such minor border rectifications as may appear reasonable and desirable should be supported by US.
  • 2. In event it becomes apparent General Assembly will be unable adopt solutions set forth above, continuation of status quo in former Italian colonies would be acceptable to US.”

Above subject provisions that (1) final decision on disposition Eritrea will not be effected prior review that decision by Joint Chiefs2 and (2) if proposal is made for US trusteeship of Tripolitania, such proposal will not be turned down without consultation between interested Executive Departments of US Government.

  1. Not printed. The report under reference, NSC 19/1, had been adopted by the National Security Council on July 21, 1948.
  2. For the Joint Chiefs of Staff view on Eritrea see NSC 19/3, p. 933.