333. Memorandum of Discussion at the 390th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, December 11, 19581

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and items 1–3.]

4. U.S. Policy Toward Libya (NSC 5716/1; OCB Report on NSC 5716/1, dated November 5, 1958)2

At the invitation of Mr. Gray, Mr. Harr briefed the Council on the highlights of the OCB Report on Libya, noting among other things that while the government was favorably disposed to the U.S., Nasserism exerted a strong popular appeal and a corresponding lack of popular support for the pro-Western policies of the Libyan Government was apparent.

When Mr. Harr had concluded his remarks, the President turned to Mr. Abbott Washburn, the Acting Director, USIA, and said he wished to discuss what the OCB Report contained about the objections of the Libyan people to the things that the U.S. was doing in Libya. The President said that when we want to provide effective information to influence the Libyans [5 lines of source text not declassified]. The President said that he had urged this concept on every Director of the [Page 728] USIA. It was exasperating, therefore, to get this kind of a report of the results of his urgings. The President said he was very tired of the matter. Mr. Washburn replied that his agency was trying to meet the President’s point while Mr. Harr said he must have given the wrong impression if he had indicated in his remarks that the radio facilities he had referred to had been U.S. facilities. On the contrary they had been Libyan. The President agreed that this was an accurate statement but argued that Mr. Harr had also said that Libyans resented many of the activities the U.S. was carrying on in Libya. He repeated his view that the people of Libya should be given facts and news over the Voice of America but not entertainment programs or propaganda broadcasts.

Secretary Anderson spoke encouragingly of beginnings of oil production in Libya. Two wells are producing with results so promising that machinery is being moved from Egypt to Libya. Accordingly, if we could obtain close collaboration between these oil companies and the Government of Libya, we might be able to assure that the Libyan people would profit from these natural resources and not merely the King and a few people around him. The President agreed with Secretary Anderson.

Secretary Herter pointed out that one of our most miserable problems in Libya was constituted by the fact that nearly all school teachers in the country were either Egyptians or Palestinian Arabs both hostile to the U.S. and the West. Mr. Harr agreed that this was a serious problem but pointed out that the number of Egyptian teachers was being cut down considerably and that this was specially true of the most radical variety. [5 lines of source text not declassified]

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Libya.]

The National Security Council:3

Noted and discussed the reference Progress Report on the subject by the Operations Coordinating Board.
Noted the President’s reiteration of his belief that official broadcasts of the Voice of America radio should primarily be devoted to providing factual news, whereas broadcasts designed to entertain or engage in propaganda or political action should, so far as possible, be the product of indigenous facilities, with U.S. support as appropriate, and of non-U.S.-Government-sponsored activities. The President expressed his gratification that important progress has been made toward achieving this aim.

Note: The action in b above, as approved by the President, subsequently referred to the Operations Coordinating Board.

[Page 729]

[Here follows a note indicating that the President Held a follow-up meeting to consider further the Berlin situation.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Gleason.
  2. For text of NSC 5716/1, “U.S. Policy Toward Libya,” June 29, 1957, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XVIII, p. 490. A copy of the November 5 OCB report is in Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5716.
  3. Paragraphs a and b and the Note that follows constitute NSC Action No. 2018. (Ibid.,S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)