711.56373/2–1551: Telegram

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

top secret

3824. In absence new circumstances requiring change, Dept will take fol course of action in negotiating base agreement covering US strategic requirements Libya:

Negots will be initiated probably through Emir soon as Provisional Govt Libya established, it being understood there will be no [Page 1316] public announcement or any promulgation of anything in nature of interim agreement until after in dependence achieved;
US will make direct unilateral approach to Provisional Govt Libya, making every effort coordinate in advance with UK and Fr, so that all advantages of multilateral approach will accrue in addition to retention freedom of action;
In negots distinction will be maintained between arrangements for strategic requirements and gen question financial assistance for Libya;
During negots US will concede, if necessary, that US will pay equitable land rental, which Defense Dept presently estimates might be from $20 per acre possibly as high as $50 where populated area has been cleared. US requirements Tripolitania involve approx 2600 acres;
Until negots demonstrate that precise quid pro quo in form of land rental is essential, Dept wld argue that gen welfare Libya wld be served by gen consequences of concluding base agreement, which wld include (a) mil expenditures in Libya of approx four and one-half million dols in 1952–4, plus mil pay and allowances spent there in considerable amts, (b) enlarged technical assistance program for Libya totalling one and one-half million dols for FY 1952 alone, and (c) subsequent to 1954 maintenance expenditures wld net Libyan economy $150,000 annually. Note that above amounts subject to future appropriations by Cong.
Upon receipt from Defense Dept of specifics re requirements in Libya, Dept will draft proposed agreement as basis for initiating negots.

Suggest Emb London inform FonOff (re London’s Tel 4374 Feb 10).2 Dept will inform Fr here in general terms of foregoing course of action. Dept will make draft agreement available Brit and Fr soonest and wld be pleased see any drafts they may prepare on this subj.

Defense Dept concurs.

Re Lidel 1483 and Tripoli tel 253 Feb 10.4

If provisional Tripolitanian Govt is actually established before negots initiated with provisional Govt Libya Clark and ConGen Tripoli are requested to report as of then whether their recommendation that exploratory discussions shld be held with provisional Tripoli Govt is still considered good idea. Meanwhile we shld try be fully prepared discuss problem USAF requirements Tripoli soonest with provisional Tripolitanian and/or Libyan Govts.

  1. Drafted by Cyr; cleared by AF, USAF, S/S–CR, RA, NEA, BNA, and WE.
  2. Not printed. (711.56373/2–1051)
  3. Also identified as telegram 257, from Tripoli, February 12. Clark reported that he concurred with the conclusions of telegram 253, from Tripoli, on Wheelus Field. (711.56373/2–1251)
  4. Lynch strongly recommended direct negotiations between the United States and the Libyan Government as the best method of securing base rights. He also believed there should be no direct connection between economic aid or technical assistance to Libya and money the United States would be expected to pay for base rights. (711.56373/2–1051)