711.56373/12–1951: Telegram

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

top secret

286. I intend to sign base rights agreement and exchange of notes on financial aid1 with Muntasser, Prime Minister, on Independence Day rather than with new Foreign Minister because (1) this practice will conform with British and French intentions and (2) will avoid any hitches that might result from new Foreign Minister’s unfamiliarity with agreement.

Regarding publicity for agreement and financial aid, Prime Minister is expected to make first campaign speech two days after independence at which time he will undoubtedly desire refer US-Libya financial agreement as example of his accomplishments.

We shld, it is believed, be prepared for simultaneous release of financial aid notes at this time when its use will be of most value to Libyan Govt.

On release of exchange of notes and agreement concerning military facilities, this might be delayed until agreement is presented for ratification. However, it is likely that opposition parties in Libya and also Arab bloc in GA may make it desirable to release the exchange of notes shortly after independence. It is obviously more advantageous for govt to make first move in release without being forced by opposition.

While it is desired to consult with Prime Minister before making final decision on release, I am of opinion that exchange of notes might be publicized at Foreign Minister’s speech evening of second day after independence. Agreement itself might be held as restricted pending presentation for ratification after elections in order prevent 55 opposition candidates for Parliament renegotiating it from soapboxes.

  1. Telegram 181, from Washington, December 6, advised the Consul General that the Departments of State and Defense had decided that the U.S. Government would contribute $1 million a year for 20 years to Libya for economic development, in addition to the rental payments for the agreed areas, in return for Libyan acceptance of the military agreement of October 19, amended in Article VII to meet earlier Libyan objections. The Consul General was advised to “remind Libyans that for publicity purposes we consider it most important that one million dollar annual econ aid commitment of US be kept separate matter from Mil Agreement and that we expect they will likewise in this publicity keep them as separate and unrelated arrangements. Despite foregoing position re publicity, it must be understood between us and Libyans that final ratification of Agreement will have to precede any implementation of financial aid program.”

    The telegram contained the text of notes to be exchanged on the Military Agreement and the Economic Agreement between the Consul General and the appropriate Libyan official. The notes were to be initialed at that time and then executed formally by the duly constituted Libyan authorities on independence day. (711.56373/12–651)

    The formal exchange of notes took place on December 24, the date of Libyan independence; the texts of the notes as sent are enclosures to despatch 15 to Tripoli, April 12, 1952. (711.56373/4–1252)