357.AG/2–1150: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy 1

510. Requested Emb find suitable occasion contact Pelt UN Comm Libya while in Rome Feb 12–15, address Hotel Excelsior, and verbally inform him in confidence our thinking along following lines.

“In order assist Comm reconcile his differences opinion on interpretation UNGA Res with Brit and Fr Fon Offs US has suggested to both govts that they consider a delay in implementation plans until he has opportunity discuss matter with them. US has every hope that such delay, if forthcoming will afford opportunity for Comm and admins authorities draw closer in their interpretation Res. Pronouncement Cyrenaican Congress and statement of Bashir Bey Sadawi (since Pelt’s departure Tripoli) that he is in general agreement Brit plans Tripolitania and wishes they could be speeded up, we believe, adds weight to Brit approach. If Comm puts himself into open opposition to partial transfer of powers to autonomous govts before issue of unity is settled, he might be subject to criticism from both local inhabitants and admins authorities on grounds unduly delaying formation governmental institutions required by para 10(b) Res.

“Res as to degree responsibility local admins and responsibility Comm not clear and provides grounds for differences of interpretation. As we view legislative history res, establishment autonomous institutions self-govt in three territories need not be prejudicial unity [Page 1605] Libya nor contrary spirit para 10 Res. Unity to us, in terms understanding of members who developed Res in sub-cmttee, means a single state of Libya. Form of govt, whether unitary, federal, or confederal, is to be left to the peoples of Libya. From our knowledge of exigencies local situation, federation appears to be form unity which responds faithfully to purposes of Res. If this is so, powers which presently reside in local admins may be progressively transferred to native authorities in three territories inasmuch as all powers need not devolve upon one central govt. If unity in a form acceptable to local inhabitants is to be achieved, we can understand that the admins authorities feel it necessary take early preparatory steps giving inhabitants respective areas progressively greater governmental authority prior calling Natl Assembly. Such steps might provide for corps of constructive leadership on quasi-governmental plane as distinct from present political orientation around leading personalities and thereby facilitate subsequent work Comm.

“This matter has been discussed with Brit, and on basis our common interests in area, which we indicated to Pelt on his informal trip to Wash, we have agreed to speak to him on his return to US on following line (here see para 5 of Deptel 615 London rptd Rome).”

Emphasize Pelt that above views being offered purely in desire to be helpful to Comm in reaching harmonious adjustment his own views with those admins authorities. Also inform Pelt that US is contacting countries on Advisory Council and seeking their agreement to have permanent seat Geneva and that we are requesting Council convene Tripoli by March 21 if possible. Power agreed with us that early meeting Council desirable and that it would be appropriate US start action get permanent seat Geneva. In this respect you may inform him of details Deptel 504 to Rome.2

  1. Repeated to Paris, London, Cairo, Geneva, and Tripoli.
  2. Not printed; in it the Department of State informed Embassy Rome that the implementation of the Libyan resolution seemed to be moving less rapidly than desirable, and that the permanent headquarters of the Advisory Council should not be located in Libya. (357.AG/2–1050)