711.56373/7–2051: Telegram

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

top secret

21. I am informed by CO Wheelus Field that negotiating team representing three services will arrive here Aug first. Libyan Govt has not been informed of these impending arrivals, and I wish to emphasize: (1) Libyan Govt shld be given ample notice of such a group and (2) number of negotiators shld be held to absolute minimum. In my view draft agreement shld now be presented Libyan Govt for study. After two or three weeks informal discussions cld be entered into with FonMin and whoever else Emir designates.

Both Emir and FonMin expressed considerable apprehension to me when I mentioned possible “team of experts” in my audience with Emir last month. Both emphasized that they had no corresponding experts to meet with such a group and took the line that two or three Americans might sit down with FonMin in a friendly way to work situation out.

Emir and FonMin also urged that we give them a draft of proposed agreement and time to study it. While I have grave doubts about security aspect of giving them advance draft, I see no way out of it and feel that accurate Arabic translation shld be prepared in Washington as neither Libyan Govt nor this office has translators competent to perform a technical job of this sort. At present time, translators attached to UN Comm for Libya are understood to be doing some of this work for Provisional Libyan Govt. I think it wld be most undesirable to have any draft agreement exposed to UN employees of various nationalities and sympathies.

I think we must be extremely careful not give impression of coming into Libya in high-powered manner. These negots are going to be delicate operation and more informal they can be kept more success I think we shall have. It must be remembered that even the FonMin has no great experience in the conduct of fon relations or in international negotiation. While it is probable that he will be advised by the Brit, he is approaching the problem with some timidity in the full knowledge that no matter what arrangement is reached it will one day be the subject of attack by polit opponents in Libya. It is therefore greatest importance that we do not frighten the skittish Libyans by an imposing array of special talent. Hope, therefore, it will be possible keep military team in background at Wheelus Field in advisory capacity.

CO Wheelus also informs me that Prof. A. James Casner, Harvard Law School arriving late July as Secy Finletter’s special rep for [Page 1333] negots strategic facilities. Wld appreciate info from Dept on subjects Casner proposes discuss and whether notification shld be given Provisional Libyan Govt.