773.02/2–950: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1
us urgent

615. For London.

After giving consideration Pelt’s reactions Brit and Fr plans for Libya (Tripoli’s 24 Feb 6, 21 Feb 3, 17 Jan 26, 10 Jan 202), Dept officers on Feb 7 discussed matter informally with Tebbit Brit Emb who agreed transmit our views London.3 Fol is summary conversation.
Dept somewhat concerned over gap between Pelt and Brit and Fr re plans for Libya. While we in no way wished give impression we were telling Brit and Fr how to run their show, thought they might be interested know how situation looked to us. View eventual day accounting to GA, it was in common interest more harmonious approach be made reconciling difference opinion between views FonOffs and those Pelt.
While Pelt’s reactions may well have stemmed in part from his initial surprise at advanced stage Fr and Brit plans developed without consultation with him, speed with which Brit and Fr wished implement plans no doubt made him feel being presented with fait accompli. Thus while we have every hope Pelt will finally come around accepting substantially Fr and Brit plans (on assumption, of course, they are and will continue to be within framework UNGA res), delay in implementing those plans wld give opportunity for Brit and Fr Fon Offs discuss plans with Pelt and perhaps reconcile divergencies before they hardened into intransigeance. Pelt will soon be in Paris (Feb 18–19) and London (19–24) and short delay wld not make any material difference implementation plans. It was hoped delay wld give Pelt opportunity associate himself more gracefully with and thereby give approval to Brit and Fr plans. Delay wld also permit local polit situation Tripolitania become clearer. We believe last pronouncement Cyrenaican Congress strengthens Brit plans and Tripolitanian support wld strengthen still further.
(Dept informed Feb 8 by Brit Emb that Bashir Saadawi4 is in gen agreement Brit plans. Wishes they cld be speeded up although he recognizes there is difficulty in that plans will be characterized by opposition as Brit dictate.)
Dept had never lost sight common US–UK interests in area and these interests foremost in our thinking. Thus when Pelt returns US, Dept wld stress to him (a) US did not regard proposed Brit measures prejudicial goal of unity which we had always conceived as form of federation; (b) we considered Brit plans desirable first steps in mtg objectives UN res; (c) long delay in implementing Brit plans wld merely give Arabs opportunity temporize at expense positive program, and (d) that “the unity of Libya” implied federation to us, not a unitary form govt.
For Paris.
On Feb 8 Dept officer spoke with Benard of Fr Emb5 along lines of paras (2) and (3) who said he wld inform his govt. He was not informed on lines para (5) because Dept only has Fr plans for Fezzan as outlined briefly in Depts 237 to Rome of Jan 236 and has no further info on polit developments Fezzan.
Urtel 640 Feb 87 just recd. Difficult for us react affirmatively at this time to Fr desire for our support of Fr position Fezzan without [Page 1604] clearer understanding Fr intentions and plans re carrying out UNGA res and Pelt’s views thereon. As you know Fr reticence to disclose views on this area has past several years been source difficulty. Fr abstention in UNGA and attitude of fon affairs comite of Natl Assembly (reurtel 5162 Dec 8 and 5241 Dec 148) make it extremely difficult for US to commit itself at this time. Any light which you can throw on this subj through further informal talks with Couve and La Tour du Pin9 wld be most useful to Dept in determining its position.
Power USUN who will be principal Secy to Pelt effective Feb 13 suggests Utter10 might call on Pelt while latter is in Paris to give Dept’s latest thinking paras 2–5, not paras 6, 7. Pelt will be at Hotel La Perouse. Dept concurs this suggestion.
  1. Repeated to Paris, Rome, Cairo, and Tripoli.
  2. Telegrams 21 and 17 are not printed; regarding telegram 10, see footnote 1, supra.
  3. A record of this conversation is in file 773.02/2–750.
  4. Tripolitanian political leader.
  5. Jean Benard, First Secretary of the French Embassy.
  6. Not printed; the plan called for the establishment of a chief of state in the Fezzan, a council of six, and a consultative assembly similar to the one in Algeria (773.02/1–2350).
  7. Not printed; it reported that the French planned to make every effort to persuade Pelt to accept their plans for the Fezzan. (357.AG/2–850)
  8. Neither printed.
  9. Maurice Couve de Murville, Director General for Political Affairs, and Geoffrey La Tour du Pin Verclause, Office of African and Levant Affairs, French Foreign Office.
  10. John E. Utter, Second Secretary, U.S. Embassy in Paris.