711.56373/10–2452: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Legation in Libya1

secret

272. From Villard. Believe there is chance obtain additional aid for Libya in connection with base agreement but difficulty lies in determining amount necessary to satisfy Muntasser he can obtain ratification US base agreement. Another difficulty is form such additional aid, if forthcoming, shld take. One thought is that as mentioned in Legtel 2992 instead of offering Libyan Govt specific sum we undertake to help finance within limits project such as development bank, agricultural loan agency or “Ente”3 settlement, details of which wld be worked out with Libyans thru joint consultations.

What I require in my efforts here is best estimate (1) minimum amt additional aid necessary (2) most effective form of aid both to insure ratification and to channel money to useful purposes and (3) [Page 557]whether instead of specifying amt it wld be enough to promise US financial support for some worthy project.

It occurred to me that Leg might thru indirect channels be able to indicate my problem to Muntasser or Ali Jerbi and pin them down more definitely than heretofore on essential info. This of course wld have to be done with utmost discretion and without raising false hopes for increase.

Altho it wld be better to make no predictions you may, if Muntasser’s position or gen polit situation appears to be worsening, let him know thru such indirect or informal way you may choose that I believe hope has been renewed for some increased compensation from US Govt.

In any event I wld appreciate any helpful info on above questions which Leg can provide by Nov 10.4

Bruce
  1. This telegram was drafted by Root (AF) and cleared by Utter (AF).
  2. Not printed; it reported a conversation Villard had with the Prime Minister just before his departure for Washington on consultation. He said that the Prime Minister indicated the position of the Libyan Government remained the same despite U.S. rejection of his request for additional compensation. He added that the Prime Minister had been “shocked, dismayed and deeply discouraged” by the rejection and that if the United States wanted to keep him in power it would have to see if there were any possible way to meet his views and give him the courage to present the agreement to the Parliament. (711.56373/10–2452)
  3. This reference is to a former Italian colonization project, which was to lay the foundation for comprehensive economic development in Cyrenaica.
  4. Tripoli telegram 352, Nov. 8, reported the Legation had not yet been able to get any concrete data from the Libyan Government regarding its desire for economic aid. Tripoli telegram 373, Nov. 18, transmitted a note from the Foreign Office calling for renegotiation of the base agreement. The note said the Governments of the United Kingdom and France had each submitted draft agreements to Libya along the same lines as the U.S. agreement, and Libya had decided to revise each of them. The Libyan Government expected to submit its counterproposals in the near future. Documentation is in Department of State file 711.56373.