711.56373/5–451: Telegram

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

top secret

5234. Re Question nr 1 London’s tel 5764 May 4:2 In light experience past GA’s, of recent Sov attempts place bases question on CFM agenda and known attitude Egypt and other Arab states, Dept believes question US and UK bases in Libya almost certain be raised next GA. In our view subj will be raised irrespective whether permanent agreements with Libya are in effect by that time. If Libyan independence proclaimed Oct–Nov and Libya makes prompt application for admission UN, question cld also arise in SC.

In Dept’s view we must be prepared meet issue squarely, without apology or defensive tactics, stressing increased threat to peace and security free nations and necessity that latter leave no stone unturned to strengthen system of collective security. Base agreements have proved necessary part of that system.

[Page 1322]

We feel agreement with Libya shld contain language making clear parties will exercise rights obtained in full conformity with principles and obligations of Charter. Furthermore we are giving consideration to including language in our agreement stating that facilities in question cld be used in support UN collective measures for maintenance or restoration peace and security (perhaps with reference to Uniting For Peace Res). Believe this wld put US and Libyans on strongest possible ground since challenge to base agreements from whatever source wld then involve opposition to UN collective security program which, we assume, will be at center of GA deliberations. Finally, we think Libyan reps, who shld participate in comite discussion Commissioner’s report if Libya independence has been proclaimed, will wish point out they convinced such agreements in Libya’s interests and are contribution Libya can make toward maintenance internatl security.

Re Question 2 reftel: Dept does not envisage necessity submitting text agreement or showing any other paper covering negots to GA. Conduct Libya’s fon relations will be normal and exclusive function Libyan Govt. Conclusion of base rights agreement wld be legitimate act of govt. Early timing negots does not alter this fact. Pelt will have no responsibility for or control over acts of established govt. His mission is confined to assisting Libyan people formulate constitution and establish machinery of govt. His legitimate interest in assisting Libyans devise ways and means for support of Libyan Govt gives neither Pelt nor GA any jurisdiction over base rights agreement which may become a source of such financial support. Of course we wld in due course register agreement with UN Secretariat as UN Charter requires. Experience has shown registration procedure itself, once initiated, consumes several months. By then permanent Libyan Govt wld be estabd and existence of agreement cld be announced much as Den–US agreement re Green has been.

Re Question 3 reftel: Dept believes postponement negots wld not avert GA discussion. By next Nov we sincerely hope considerable mil construction work will have been done in Libya. This work cannot be delayed even though it may provoke GA discussion. Conclusion of agreement shld not lag behind construction any more than necessary. Present indications are that we will try negotiate interim agreement to be signed on behalf US and Provisional Libyan Govt and to remain in force until superseded by subsequent agreement, which wld be negotiated with permanent govt soon as possible. Re para one Tripoli’s 378 May 11:3 Brit and Fr Administrators have powers now it is true, but Dept hopes obtain their assurance power [Page 1323] necessary to sign agreement will be transferred Provisional Libyan Govt in time for early signing of agreement. Embs London and Paris are requested approach Brit and Fr FonOffs immed to ascertain whether early trans this power practicable. If not practicable, Libyans cld still negotiate agreement but its signing wld have to await trans of powers. Re para 2 reftel we wld probably have to fall back on exchange of notes procedure if full agreement cannot be reached prior independence, but Dept wishes make every effort reach full agreement prior independence.

Progress has been made drafting Libya agreement but now apparent from Tripoli’s 378 negots cannot commence before July 9. Plans will be revised accordingly. Meanwhile mil services working on complete and expanded restatement mil requirements Libya. Next step is approach to Cong to obtain assurance US negotiator can offer direct payment for base rights. FYI only, this approach considered necessary because USAF and Dept convinced correctness of Tripoli’s view that US will not be able obtain base rights as consequence of US technical assistance or because Libyan trade balance wld be aided by dols from mil construction in Libya but will have to make direct payment. Course of action outlined in Deptel 3824 Feb 154 to London, 148 to Tripoli still contempated, with realization that in last analysis direct payment probably will be necessary as additional and final step. Probable need for direct payments on part of US, UK and Fr may be discussed generally with UK and Fr but, to protect US bargaining position, no indication shld be given whether US ready make such payment.

Prelim discussion with mil indicates mil believes three and probably four necessary on negotiating team. Mil lawyer and one requirements officer each from Air Force, Navy and Army. Dept appreciates views you have expressed and will take them into consideration in making final decision.

  1. Drafted by Cyr and Mangano; cleared by AF, UNP, BNA, NEA, WE, USAF, Defense, and S/S–CR.
  2. Supra.
  3. Lynch advised the Department of State that an interim agreement to be signed by the U.S. Government with the Provisional Libyan Government was considered unsatisfactory. Such an agreement would have no legal status prior to independence because foreign affairs were reserved powers of Britain and France as the administering authorities. (711.56373/5–1151)
  4. Ante, p. 1315.