The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Wilson)1


Dear Mr. Secretary: At the meeting of the National Security Council on June 1 I explained to the President, you will recall, that on my recent trip2 I had found the Prime Minister of Libya greatly [Page 574]disappointed over the failure of the United States Government to give financial assistance to his Government for our use of Wheelus Air Force Base since December 24, 1951, the date of Libyan independence.

The President concurred in my view that prompt action should be taken to remedy this situation. He also desired that we bring to a quick conclusion the negotiations with Libya for long-term use of Wheelus Base.

With these objectives in mind, I urge that Air Force funds be made available in the amount of $500,000 for immediate payment by the American Minister in Tripoli to the Libyan Government, with the understanding that both parties will work for prompt conclusion of the base rights negotiations. The Libyan Government would be informed that this payment would be made as an advance under the provisions of the agreement or agreements which will be reached.

It is my conviction that this action is necessary to break the present stalemate in the negotiations and will help pave the way for obtaining satisfactory provisions on those points of the proposed base rights agreement over which there is presently disagreement.

Sincerely yours,

John Foster Dulles
  1. This letter was drafted by Cyr (AF) and cleared by Jernegan (NEA).
  2. For the minutes of the National Security Council meeting of June 1, 1953, see volume ix . For memorandum of conversation between the Secretary of State and members of the Libyan Government, May 28, 1953, see ibid .