357.AG/2–650: Telegram

The Consul General at Tripoli (Lynch) to the Secretary of State

24. Pelt has given me his impressions received on Tripoli, Cyrenaica and Fezzan. He seems to have reached two conclusions: (1) federal union of three territories only realistic eventual solution of Libyan problem, and (2) date of January 1, 1952 utterly unrealistic for real independence.

In spite of these (as I look at it) advances in thinking, Pelt’s approach to method which should be adopted by UK and France to implement UN resolution remains unchanged and, in fact, if anything more determined than before. He believes (as indicated my 10 January 201) that governments of UK and France should make no further moves toward local autonomy until people of Libya have discovered for themselves that unitary state quite impracticable. He considers that best approach to problem is creation of preparatory committee composed of representatives three territories to discuss how Libyan national assembly or constituent assembly should be assembled. This group, he feels, may come to realization of impracticability of so-called unitary state and decide that federal union with certain autonomy reserved to each of the three components only answer.

I fear that such a group would arrive at no constructive conclusions and would not advance the situation in any way. I now think it would probably be better for people of Libya if UK and France could go ahead with putting into effect existing plans and I do not believe such action would necessarily prejudice eventual unity. I understand also that administrators here and in Cyrenaica and in Fezzan are prepared to carry through instructions along these lines unless instructed to contrary by FonOff and Quai d’Orsay. It seems reasonable to suppose, however, and I have received the impression from talking to Blackley2 and Chambard, French ConGen, that British and French will defer proposed moves at least until Pelt visits London and Paris.

In this connection Pelt yesterday presented note verbale to French FonOff through Chambard3 protesting against French plan to appoint [Page 1602] a Fezzanese “Chef du Territoire du Fezzan” and a council of sub-Fezzanese advisors with executive powers as contrary to letter and spirit of paragraph 10 of UN resolution. He recommends creation for time being of a Fezzanese consultative body which will have only advisory duties, the French Governor retaining all executive powers.

There is obviously a basic disagreement between Pelt and British and French Governments as to methods to be used in implementing independence Libya. Pelt’s complete conviction of strength of his position from UN point of view is becoming increasingly evident. It seems to me that Deputy [Department?] must decide now which way to use our influence. If the Department believes that proposed British and French moves toward autonomy in three territories would bring on an open debate in GA of such a heated and acrimonious nature (a debate which would not help Libya and would certainly make task of administering territories much more difficult) as to be disadvantageous to our strategic position this area, I respectfully suggest advisability of attempting persuade British and French to delay drastic moves for six months in hope that Pelt’s plan works or that, in any event, moves could then be made without being in direct opposition to Pelt and thus to UN.

Repeat London and Paris.

  1. Not printed; in it Lynch reported the substance of his first conversation with Pelt in which the United Nations Commissioner indicated that he felt the British plans to establish an autonomous Tripoli at that time were a mistake. (773.02/1–2050)
  2. Mr. T. R. Blackley, British Chief Administrator in Tripolitania.
  3. Copies of the note verbale, presented to Chambard on February 4, and of a similar note verbale, presented to Blackley on January 27, were transmitted as enclosures to despatch 15 from Tripoli, February 16, not printed (357.AG/2–1650).