865.014/8–648: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

top secret
us urgent

3126. Following are instructions for use US Deputy in Deputies meeting on Itcol Aug 9. US Deputy should bear in mind that we are anxious to settle any specific item on which possibility of agreement [Page 935] among Deputies exists. However, we realize chance of agreement on all Italian colonies is slight and that some part of problem at least will go to GA. We do not wish to take negative attitude in Deputies meeting through failure to make any suggestions, hence these instructions cover those points at which we are prepared to seek agreement now. Following instructions represent views which U.S. Deputy should support in Deputies. However, if Deputies are unable to agree, you should make no commitments in Deputies meeting about attitude US might take later in GA, since GA situation might necessitate some modification our position.

Somaliland—US Deputy should propose territory be placed under Italian trusteeship.
Eritrea—US Deputy should support, or, if necessary, propose whichever of following solutions is more acceptable to British. They are listed in order of US preference:
Partition, with northern and predominantly Moslem portion (including Asmara and Massawa) under British trusteeship and remainder ceded to Ethiopia, exact boundary to be agreed by British and Ethiopians.
Postponement of decision regarding northern and predominantly Moslem portion (including Asmara and Massawa), with southern section ceded to Ethiopia. Postponement would be advocated on grounds inherent difficulty of problem, divergence of views among countries participating in Commission of Investigation and governments who have presented views to Deputies. At proper time divergence of views among Deputies could be cited to show need for further study and negotiation. Suggestion would be that matter be referred to GA with recommendation that GA study matter further before attempting arrive definitive solution.
You should discuss foregoing alternatives with British before Deputies meeting and explain that our desire to retain Asmara and Massawa in British territory is occasioned by strong interest armed forces in radio facilities Asmara. US Joint Chiefs state British share benefits these facilities.
You should not support Bevin’s trusteeship proposal for Eritrea because of following considerations:
It is manifestly inconsistent to propose that Ethiopia is qualified to assume responsibility as trustee over Eritreans and at same time make it clear that we do not consider it so qualified by suggesting an “advisory council” to insure that Ethiopia lives up to its commitment and responsibility. No existing trusteeship agreement contains any such provision. Responsibilities of governments members of “advisory council” would be difficult to define and would appear to involve responsibility without authority. Further, Ethiopia’s membership in Trusteeship Council might upset balance between present administering and non-administering powers because of Ethiopia’s sympathy for so-called “colonial peoples”.
Difficulties in Bevin’s proposal would be underlined if such an [Page 936] arrangement were made for Ethiopia’s trusteeship over Eritrea and not for Italy’s trusteeship over Somaliland.
Libya—If possible, U.S. Deputy should allow French and USSR to state their views on Libya, after which he will state that US has always been in favor of trusteeship for Libya leading as soon as practicable to independence as contemplated by the Charter. In case of Cyrenaica, US is inclined to believe British would be most suitable administering authority, particularly in light of British pledge to Senussi. Tripolitania and Fezzan, however, present very much more complicated problems. In view of divergence of attitudes which have arisen in consideration of problem thus far, US considers that question of disposition of Tripolitania and Fezzan must be given further study, and Deputies should recommend such study when placing matter before GA. Same general reasons as are found in para 2 (b), above, apply. If, after having taken this position, disagreement develops with regard to Cyrenaica, Dept’s present thought is that you would be instructed to support postponement for all of Libya. You should assure British privately that we intend to support their position on Cyrenaica during GA phase of problem.

You should previously inform British that, in event settlement future Libya postponed, US is willing to support such change in status administration Libya as is necessary for UK to set up civil administration in which local inhabitants would be given chance to play part.

Dept has no objection to UK-US-French discussions at any time prior to Aug. 9.

In view important nature Deputies discussions and vital US strategic and political status involved, it is hoped that Douglas will be able attend Deputies meetings personally, particularly if Massigli does so.

Please keep Dept closely informed of Itcol discussions since it is contemplated that additional instructions will probably be required during early stages of negotiations.