711.56373/1–1652: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

top secret

3379. During Nov 1951 several tels were exchanged between Dept and Tripoli and Dept and London re deployment 580th ARCWing to Wheelus Field.2 That proposed movement was postponed until after independence Libya.3

Unit has high priority in US mil plans and its deployment Wheelus required urgently. Present plans provide for movement Wing as fols:

No troops wld arrive before Mar 1, which wld be after Libyan elections.
Between Mar 1 and Apr 1 fol groups wld be moved in by air:
Advance Echelon, 80 men.
Air Echelon of crews, etc., 300 men.
Ground Echelon, non-fliers, maintenance, etc., 200 men.
As soon after Apr 15 as possible main body of Wing wld arrive by ship. This wld total not more than 1500 and probably only 1300. It wld arrive in two ships at different times. Troops wld debark with minimum personal gear. Maximum nr to be moved through port Tripoli by truck wld probably be only 750 at any one time.

Dept perceives no difficulties in movements of personnel by air. Arrival personnel by ship after Apr 15 is planned to allow time for ratification US–Libya base agreement by Libyan Parliament and King. In order meet above sched planning must be done and orders issued now.

  1. This telegram was drafted by Wellons (AF) and cleared in the offices of Bourgerie (AF), Haselton (BNA), Nolting (G), Col. W. W. Dunlop (Air Force), and Berry (NEA). It was repeated to Tripoli.
  2. Documentation on this topic is in Department of State file 711.56353.
  3. The independence of Libya was proclaimed on Dec. 24, 1951. For documentation on this topic, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. v, pp. 1313 ff. At that time, elections were scheduled for February 1952 for representatives and for March 1952 for senators. An account of the establishment of the Libyan parliamentary government is in Majid Khadduri, Modern Libya (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1963).