Editorial Note

The United States–United Kingdom talks merged into tripartite conversations with France which occurred sporadically from July 26 to September 4, 1948, in a fruitless attempt to find a concerted policy on the disposition of the Italian Colonies. All three Governments agreed that Italian Somaliland should be returned to Italy, but agreement ended there. France also wanted to return Eritrea, after ceding to Ethiopia a small outlet to the sea. Both the United States and the United Kingdom opposed the return of any part of Eritrea to Italy and advocated the cession of a larger area to Ethiopia.

For Libya, France proposed an Italian trusteeship over Tripolitania, a French trusteeship over the Fezzan, and a British trusteeship over Cyrenaica. The United States and United Kingdom officials agreed to the trusteeships for the Fezzan and Cyrenaica, but could not support the return of Tripolitania to Italy.

Because of the lack of agreement on Eritrea and Tripolitania the talks ended without formulating a tripartite policy.

Documentation on these meetings is found in telegrams 3886 and 3904 from Paris and 3574, 3716, 3951, and 3974 from London, file 865.014/7–2648, 7–2748, 8–748, 8–1648, 9–248, and 9–448, none printed.