244. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

7525. Subj: Malta. Ref: London 332.2

1. We are most appreciative of Manzini efforts find way out of current impasse and are hopeful Archbishop Gonzi will play supporting [Page 775] role in current effort get negotiations re-established. However, in view very complex state of play at moment and fact Alliance has just agreed after much travail on new approach to Mintoff (USNATO 189),3 we are not disposed join effort empower Gonzi in some special way at this time, lest it confuse already confused situation further.4

2. Re level of offer to be made Mintoff, we not able at this time go beyond instructions known to you, i.e., cash in sight is at about 12 million pound level. If Mintoff were willing consider annualizing and folding in bilateral aid already offered, plus whatever additional bilateral aid US and others might provide, we can easily conceive of total benefits-package to Malta amounting to annual 15 million pounds equivalent. He has, of course, shown no disposition to date to add up benefits in this way, but possibility not precluded he will decide do so.

3. You are authorized discuss with Manzini along foregoing lines, emphasizing that US most appreciative. If appropriate, you might also point out to him that US prepared send economic-financial experts to Malta, in line with Ellsworth letter commitment,5 soonest after UK/GOM talks re-opened. Purpose would be to consider what additional US bilateral aid might be appropriately given Malta after conclusion satisfactory UK/GOM agreement. We hope others, particularly Italy, and FRG, will be willing take similar actions in effort facilitate successful outcome negotiations.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 729, Country Files—Europe, United Kingdom, Vol. VII. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted in EUR; cleared in EUR, S, and by Sonnenfeldt (in substance) for the White House; and approved by U. Alexis Johnson.
  2. Dated January 13, it reported on an Italian plan, already presented to Heath, that called for Archbishop Gonzi to recommend that Mintoff accept a “NATO offer which he (Gonzi) thinks meets the needs of Malta” and then to defend the offer “before Maltese people if Mintoff should reject it.” According to the Italian Embassy, Gonzi was ready to support an offer of between 15 and 16 million pounds. (Ibid.) The Embassy had reported on Italian Ambassador Manzini’s meeting with Heath in telegram 196 from London, January 9. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated January 13. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 15 MALTA–UK)
  4. In telegram 391 from London, January 14, the Embassy reported that it had delivered the U.S. response to Manzini who expressed appreciation for the tone of the U.S. reply. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 729, Country Files—Europe, United Kingdom, Vol. VII) Telegram 417 from London, January 16, reported that Manzini had informed the Embassy that during a January 15 meeting with Mintoff, Pope Paul VI had urged Mintoff to be reasonable in dealings with the United Kingdom and had indicated his full support for Gonzi. Manzini expressed his concern that an economic crisis in the wake of British withdrawal would lead to a radicalization of Malta’s domestic and foreign policy and open the way for Soviet penetration of the island. (Ibid.)
  5. For the Ellsworth letter, see Document 246.