711.56373/2–2151: Telegram

The Consul General at Tripoli (Lynch) to the Department of State 1

top secret

265. Re Deptel 3824 to London dated February 152 and mytel 253. February 9 [10] to Department.3 I have these observations re negotiation of base rights agreement:

As I have repeatedly stated, I believe that economic and technical assistance should not be confused with base rights. Therefore, while I wholly concur with principle enunciated paragraph 3, Deptel under reference I find that principle contradicted by paragraph 5. I perceive no objection to talking in general terms along lines mentioned paragraph 5 in order create atmosphere favorable to satisfactory negotiations. Even here, however, I believe we should avoid linking enlarged technical assistance program contemplated for fiscal year 1952 with base agreement. I think Libyans who have been told so often of high moral principles underlying Point IV assistance to underdeveloped countries might find this approach somewhat surprising.
With respect Point IV I believe US should divest itself of real estate problems in Libya at earliest possible moment. As Department is aware we are now paying rent on land through British to Arab landowners. We should in my opinion suggest to the new Libyan Government that it immediately take over all obligations re land we now use or may need in future. This would go long way toward eliminating source of constant friction in future between US authorities on one hand and Arab population and Libyan Government on other. After voluntary increase in rent payments some months ago actual landowners are probably now receiving equitable compensation for use of their land but to talk of $20 or $50 or any other sum per acre seems to me to miss the point and confuse the issue. What Libyan Government will undoubtedly demand is annual payment in return for which it will allow foreign government to operate military bases with ancillary facilities and rights in this country.…

I concur generally with rest Department telegram. After conversation February 17 with Secretary Air Force Finletter I believe he is personally interested this problem and I would appreciate if this telegram could be brought to his attention.

  1. Repeated to London.
  2. Supra.
  3. Not printed; but see footnote 4, supra.