The Acting Secretary of Defense (Foster) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to Mr. Lovett’s letters of 9 and 17 August 19511 and subsequent correspondence relating to the negotiation of an Agreement with the Provisional Government of Libya for military operating rights and facilities in that country required by the United States military services.

The terms of the Draft Agreement dated 19 October 1951, Inclosure 1,2 are acceptable to this Department. However, I am advised by the Secretary of the Air Force that to have this Agreement acceptable to the Provisional Libyan Government, provision must be made therein for the payment of an equitable rental for whatever base areas may become available to the United States. While the payment of rental for military operating facilities of the type contemplated in this [Page 1365] Agreement has been avoided in recent years as a matter of policy, the Department of Defense, in view of the special importance of our military requirements in this area, is prepared in this instance to make an exception. Therefore, it is proposed that Article VII of the subject draft be revised to read as indicated in Inclosure 6.3

With regard to the economic aid to be provided for Libya, which Mr. Matthews mentioned in his letter of 31 August 19514 to Secretary Marshall, this Department is prepared to include in its budget the sum of $1,000,000 on a yearly basis for the twenty-year term of the agreement, in addition to any technical and economic assistance which may be provided by the Department of State under the Mutual Security Act. In this respect, the proposed exchange of notes concerning economic aid, attached hereto as Inclosures 4 and 54 which I understand were drafted in your Department, are satisfactory to the Department of Defense.

I understand that a time lapse of several months may ensue before the new Libyan Parliament is constituted and able to act upon the proposed Agreement. It is, therefore, necessary to make provision for the interim period between the signing of the Agreement by the authorized representatives of the new United Kingdom of Libya and its ratification by the Parliament. The Secretary of the Air Force informs me that your representatives feel that this contingency can best be covered by the exchange of notes, attached hereto as Inclosures 2 and 3, with which I agree.

The information contained in Technical Schedule 1,4 attached to the proposed Agreement, is of a highly classified nature and should not, of course, be made public without the prior approval of this Department. Whatever steps you take to insure that the information contained in this Technical Schedule is not made public by the Government of Libya will be acceptable to this Department.

In view of the foregoing, and if you agree herewith, it is requested that you institute the necessary action to consummate the proposed Agreement with the Government of Libya. I would appreciate being informed of the outcome of these negotiations.

Sincerely yours,

William C. Foster
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Ante, p. 1347.
  3. See footnote 2, p. 1349.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.