501.BB/8–2149: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State

top secret

3312. At dinner Ethiopian Legation August 19, Clutton told Embassy Officer “we now have policy for Itcols” and added telegram being sent Washington to apprise Department. He gave Embassy office bare details which were amplified August 20 by Stewart as follows:

HMG favors independence for Libya as soon as possible, but without intervening period trusteeship.
GA resolution for independence should be implemented by powers entrusted under Article 23 peace treaty1 with administration territories, i.e. UK for Cyrenaica and Tripoli and French for Fezzan.
Question of unity should be decided by inhabitants themselves after independence and meanwhile nothing should be done to prejudice eventual unity. HMG believes unity, when attained, should take form of federated and not unitary state.
HMG willing support mention in GA of Italy’s close economic ties with Tripoli, but is not prepared advocate any stipulation in GA resolution regarding treaty between it and Tripoli. HMG considers this matter for negotiation between Italy and Tripoli and would be willing use its good offices with Tripolitanian Government regarding such treaty.
HMG feels period before independence should be long enough to lay necessary foundations for nationhood and to avoid repercussions French North Africa. Anything between 2 and 5 years would be acceptable. HMG recognizes period preparation may vary for each territory. Also that it might be more practical for independence to be achieved in 2 stages, i.e. self-government at this session and decision on when independence should be granted at subsequent session GA.
Question advisory council should be avoided if possible because effect on Emir and UK administration Cyrenaica. However UKDel [Page 582] had discretion regarding AC for Tripoli provided AC would have no mandatory powers and would not be permanently resident territory.
HMG still favors incorporation all Eritrea in Ethiopia except western province which it feels should be incorporated Sudan.
HMG opposes independent Eritrea, since it feels it would be weak state open to undesirable influences and hence constitute danger to security East Africa.
HMG favors Italian trusteeship Italian Somaliland. If this not acceptable GA, HMG thinks postponement to next session would be best solution. HMG could not accept British trusteeship over Italian Somaliland at this time because of effect on UK-Italian relations.

Asked who would occupy same Political position Tripoli after independence as UK would occupy Cyrenaica, Clutton replied “US or UK; we do not think Italy should occupy it.” (Despite this, Stewart said later Foreign Office has not yet received reply Chief’s of Staff to question mentioned paragraph B Embtel 3195 August 12).2

Stewart enquired yesterday whether Embassy had had any reaction question posed paragraph C Embtel 3195. Embassy hopes Department can give us its early views this subject for discussion Foreign Office, including prospects US giving technical and financial assistance.

  1. For the text of the Treaty of Peace with Italy, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 1648, or 61 Stat. (pt.2) 1245.
  2. Not printed.