65. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
Libyan PM Muntassir has bought the deal we offered on Wheelus (Baida 55).2 In return for our accepting the “principle of withdrawal” he’s agreed to wait till next year to talk dates and to set aside the question of terminating the base agreement. He also said he’ll try to calm public opinion and be reasonable in talks on Libyanizing the base (and later on withdrawal date).
Muntassir has proved more reasonable than Foreign Minister Maaziq, so we’re not entirely out of the woods. There will probably be a press flurry when Muntassir reports our acceptance (possibly later this week), and Maaziq could stir up trouble at the Arab Summit conference beginning the end of the month.
However, we’ve come off about as well as we could hope so far. We’ll start talking Libyanization as soon as the Libyans name some people to talk with us, and we’re ready to talk dates early next year.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Libya, Vol. II, 7/64–12/68. Secret. ↩
- Attached but not printed. In telegram 55 from Baida, August 10, Lightner reported that he had called on the Prime Minister, who had readily given reassurances on the three points the Ambassador had been instructed to raise. Muntasir had said, however, that he hoped the United States was also agreeing to take steps before the end of the year to lay the groundwork for future talks concerning dates of withdrawal. ↩