711.56373/1–2452: Telegram

The Chargé in Libya (Lynch) to the Department of State

top secret

369. Present USAF expansion plans envisage second base in Libya. In this connection King and prominent Cyrenaicans including Ali Jerbi have often stressed desirability of locating an American milit installation near Benghazi, mentioning as possibility Berka II airfield, located about four miles south of Benghazi on the coast. (This was USAF base in World War II.)

Benefits to be derived from locating base in Cyrenaica are:

In the event of Libyan unity cracking under still continuing strain of Cyrenaican separatism, we wld not have our strategic facilities in one basket only.
US gives Cyrenaicans tangible evidence of econ benefits of US agreement which still must be ratified.

… I feel that Benghazi wld be better suited than Tripoli for fol reasons:

Benghazi is far less of an internatl community than Tripoli.…
Geographically its location is more advantageous.
Commanding officer Wheelus states his facilities are almost saturated at present.

Therefore, Legation urges that Benghazi be picked as site of second air base rather than constructing another field in Tripolitania at this time.