357.AG/10–1751: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva ( Ward ) to the Department of State 1

top secret

319. Lidel 192. From Clark. In conversation Pelt other matters question date independence arose and prospective date mentioned by Pelt was Nov 8, London’s 1853.2 Opposition expressed to me was based on impracticality effecting realistic transfer powers by that date and on his belief proclamation independence under such circumstances prior debate GA wld have adverse effect on debate. Pelt is reacting favorably to congratulatory remarks regarding miracle he has accomplished and inclined believe he cld be brought on side early independence provided he is convinced practicality effective transfer powers. His objection is to transfer that would be in name only. There is evidence that Saadawi realizes elections impracticable prior independence and will devote all his energy assure free elections which he convinced he can win. In light this possibility, discussions in Geneva have indicated desirability seeking means bring Saadawi and Muntasir into some form détente until elections. From both UK and Libyan sources here, gather that not deemed impossible and if achieved, would result in only one Libyan voice sixth UNGA. Libya would thereby become less contentious subject and Pakistan desire achieved. Also it would leave Egypt alone in opposition to development Libya.

Idea early independence was not “in order to forestall any criticism in GA”, but rather tactical move by which it was hoped to lessen violence and effectiveness criticism, thus avoiding abortion Libyan independence and increasing likelihood GA would approve action taken as in conformity its directives. Once independence declared, GA would in fact be confronted with fait accompli, as could not be turned back. Yet in light GA direction that independence should be proclaimed “as soon as possible” difficult perceive how such action could justifiably be characterized as Machiavellian. No Libyan, including Saadawi, would dare suggest reopening issue once independence proclaimed. Pakistan representative council insist original GA idea was that GA would have two looks at Libya prior independence [Page 1345] and that, therefore, independence should not take place until after consideration subject sixth UNGA. Nothing however in record substantiate this claim. Re question strategic negotiations, believe best ground refusal discuss is that they represent negotiations between sovereign states which will at proper time be registered with UN.

In view above, still believe Dept’s previous position, Deptel 1662, Sept 25,3 sound and should be followed with flexible date. November 1 may be early but December 31 is too late. [Clark.]

  1. Repeated to London and Tripoli.
  2. Dated October 16, not printed.
  3. Ante, p. 1333.