100. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Libya1

227215. Subject: BP Nationalization. References: (A) State 226700; (B) Tripoli 2302.2

Your penetrating, helpful and most timely analysis very much appreciated.
After careful consideration at highest levels, Dept has decided adopt following position:
There will be no public statement by USG.
Dept has indicated to Dept of Justice that it will not object if oil companies are permitted take concerted action to apply Libyan sharing agreement and to inhibit marketing of BP oil by LARG (N.B., this is extent of oil companies’ request to Dept to date).
As indicated State 226700, USG will support UK démarches to major consuming countries by private and confidential démarches to major consuming countries and will adopt similar position at OECD oil committee meeting in January.
You will receive separate instructions regarding possible representations to LARG on general question of nationalization, in light your comments in para 8 of Tripoli 2302.3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, PET 15–2 LIBYA. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Harry I. Odell (AF/N); cleared by Brown and Scott George (EUR/BMI); and approved by Robert S. Smith (AF). Repeated to London and Benghazi.
  2. Telegram 226700 to London, December 17, summarized below, is ibid. Telegram 2302 is Document 99.
  3. These instructions stated that because the companies had not asked for U.S. intervention, and because of timing, the Department believed that the Embassy’s suggestions would “clearly link USG with BP problem in LARG’s mind. Libyans might well interpret it as support for British hardline position or might get impression of weakness or fear on our part re future of US companies, neither of which could work to our or companies’ benefit.” (Telegram 1346 to Tripoli, January 5, 1972; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, PET 15–2 LIBYA)