Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Satterthwaite)


Participants: Mr. Gerald Meade, Counselor of the British Embassy
Mr. Joseph C. Satterthwaite, NEA
Mr. James S. Moose, Jr., AF

Mr. Meade called on Mr. Satterthwaite by request at 4:30 p. m., and stated that he had informed the Foreign Office, after a previous conversation with Mr. Satterthwaite, that one of the plans for Tripolitania under consideration by the State Department involved multiple trusteeship for the area. The reaction of the Foreign Office, he said, was “sharp”, and he had had a prompt reply expressing fear that multiple trusteeship ran the risk of “Slav” participation in the administration. He then endeavored to obtain further information about the nature of the multiple trusteeship. He inquired specifically whether the multiple trusteeship applied only to Tripolitania or to all Libya.

Mr. Satterthwaite replied that the United States would honor its commitment to support British trusteeship in Cyrenaica. The multiple trusteeship plan had been discussed for all of Libya if the British would consent, and had been discussed for Tripolitania and the Fezzan (without Cyrenaica) if the British insisted on direct trusteeship in Cyrenaica. The names of the possible trustee countries: UK, U.S., France, Italy and Egypt were mentioned. Mr. Meade asked a number of further questions, but Mr. Satterthwaite declined to give any further information.

Mr. Meade then expressed the grave concern of the British Ambassador at the short time left in which to hold Anglo-American conversations with regard to the disposition of the Italian colonies; and asked if Mr. Satterthwaite could give him some indication of when the Department would be in a position to begin discussions with the British Embassy. Mr. Satterthwaite replied that the discussions were now on the level of the Under Secretary; but that he would not dare set a date when conversations with the British Embassy could begin.

Reverting to the proposal of multiple trusteeship, Mr. Meade opined that it would be difficult to secure approval of multiple trusteeship in Tripolitania because of the number of Latin-American countries which supported Italian trusteeship. Mr. Satterthwaite replied that there was some feeling in the Department that multiple trusteeship would have a wide appeal, and he believed that a considerable number of the Latin American countries could be persuaded to vote for such a proposal. The corollary of awarding the day-to-day administration of [Page 532] Tripolitania to Italy would appeal to those who might otherwise advocate an outright Italian trusteeship.

There was a small amount of inconsequential talk, and Mr. Meade repeated what he had said to Mr. Moose a few days earlier; that the Foreign Office had told Mr. Manzini1 the British would not keep their troops in Tripolitania for the purpose of introducing Italian administration and troops while the British maintained order. On the contrary, as soon as a trusteeship had been awarded to the Italians, the British would withdraw their troops “at the earliest possible moment”.

Mr. Meade left with Mr. Satterthwaite’s assurance that the British Embassy would be informed promptly as soon as the Department was able to discuss with it the disposition of the former Italian colonies.

Joseph C. Satterthwaite
  1. Raimondo Manzini, Italian Consul in British West Africa. 865.014/3–1049