773.13/9–2453: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Libya1

confidential priority

71. Reference your telegram 97.2 While viewing Muntasser’s resignation with concern, Department considers it inadvisable United States representative proceed Rome to urge Muntasser withdraw resignation. Mission would undoubtedly become public knowledge and subject many interpretations. Your suggestion to King through acting Prime Minister that King ask Muntasser form another government provides parties with method healing breach if they so desire and Department would prefer not give Muntasser impression he indispensable from United States viewpoint. While Muntasser obviously best qualified man for position, Department has not been impressed by his performance in respect to base agreement during past year.

Obviously Department deeply concerned over alternatives. Presume King realizes selection of Cyrenaican as Prime Minister would rock federal structure of Kingdom if not destroy it. In view foregoing considerations, believe you should remain Libya, doing there what you can to heal breach between King and Muntasser or giving such advice as you properly can to assure selection of new Prime Minister whose ascendancy would promote continued existence federal Kingdom and successful conclusion our base negotiations.

  1. This telegram was repeated to Rome, London, and Benghazi. It was drafted by Cyr (AF) and cleared by Utter (AF).
  2. Sept. 24; not printed. It reported that the resignation of Prime Minister Muntasser would be a serious setback to the base negotiations. The Minister asked the Department if it would approve his flying to Rome to try to persuade the Prime Minister, on the basis of mutual friendship, to withdraw a resignation he had handed to the King. (773.12/9–2453)