711.56376/1–553: Telegram

The Ambassador in Jordan (Green) to the Department of State

secret

531. ReDeptel 486, December 29.1 From Lynch.

While in some degree flattering for Muntasser to suggest that I could lead him and his hard-headed advisers up such a diplomatic garden path as indicated in reftel, the story has no basis in fact. I am saddened that Muntasser has felt it necessary to produce such a fiction.

At a reception at 5 p.m. on Independence Day, December 24, 1952 [1951] after complete accord on all points in agreement had been reached and after 10 p.m. had been agreed upon as suitable hour for signing all pertinent documents—signing to take place immediately subsequent to my act of recognizing independent Libya on behalf of US Muntasser’s private secy told me that Prime Minister would like a few more days to negotiate. My reaction to this eleventh hour suggestion was highly unfavorable and I pointed out the anomalous situation in which Libya would find itself with no agreement to cover presence of our airbase and large number of airforce troops. I made it perfectly clear that I expected Prime Minister to sign at the hour agreed upon, and he did so.

At one time Libyans had expressed desire for assistance of foreign legal adviser to counsel them on certain technical aspects of agreement. We, of course, raised no objection to this but pointed out desirability of having agreement signed on Independence Day. Libyans themselves decided that they would accept advice of their own legal talent when it was ascertained that kind of person they desired for this work was not then available. At no time, however, was it suggested by Libyans or by me that we had labored for more than four months in order to agree upon and sign a document which was provisional or tentative in character.

As for the figure of $1 million per year for 20 years one million was the Libyans own figure not ours. Record will show that I tried hard for weeks to persuade them to accept less. Libyans were delighted with the sum for which they had held out for so long and in such a determined fashion. My chief difficulty was in persuading Dept and Defense that one million per year was a reasonable figure to pay … for a 20-year period. It was as Ali Bey Jerbi said (and in circumstances [Page 567]dislike quoting the Libyans) “A good round sum” and one which they could “persuade their parliament to accept” when time came for parliamentary ratification in accordance with Libyan constitution.

Green
  1. Not printed; it was addressed to Andrew Lynch, Counselor of Embassy in Jordan. He had been First Secretary at the Legation in Libya and, as Chargé d’Affaires, signed the Base Agreement for the United States on Dec. 24, 1951. It reported that Muntasser said he had been informed by Lynch orally that the Dec. 24 agreement was merely temporary and subject to modification after signing. It also said that the Libyan Prime Minister stated he had been forced to accept the amount of $1 million on a take it or leave it basis, but had been given to understand that the amount of economic aid would be raised. (711.56373/12–2952)