31. Telegram 811 From the Embassy in Libya to the Department of State1

811. Subject: Libyan Démarche on C–130 Aircraft. Ref: Tripoli 728.

1. MFA Political Director Najib Shaybani asked to see Chargé July 22 and handed him note on LARG’s C–130 aircraft in U.S. which read in brief as follows:

2. Quote. Ministry wishes to bring to Embassy’s attention following points on subject of C–130 aircraft which are impounded in Lockheed company’s storage area:

A) These planes have remained impounded for lengthy period as result of instructions by American authorities.

B) Continuing impoundment of these planes is costing Libyan Govt huge sums of money.

C) Ministry of Foreign Affairs sees no justification for impoundment of these planes by American authorities particularly since they are transport or cargo planes. Although MFA has discussed subject with Embassy previously without obtaining positive results, it hopes it will receive at earliest possible time final notification that American authorities have made necessary decision to enable Libyan officials to take possession of these planes and put an end to the matter. Unquote.

3. Shaybani noted favorably recent discussion between AFN Director Wiley and Libyan Chargé in Washington as well as Dept’s ap[Page 94]proval of Page air defense system proposal and said he hoped there would now be something concrete on the C–130 question. He spoke vaguely of possible gradual improvement in our relations if question were resolved. Chargé asked if it were correct to report that Shaybani was seeking yes or no answer. Latter simply specified he was asking for affirmative reply. He also asked if it might be possible to have a reply in writing within week’s time.

4. Presumably démarche was made on instructions of RCC which is aware all eight planes are now ready for delivery, approach could be related to Lockheed effort to obtain final decision at this time from Dept (reftel).

  1. Summary: The Embassy transmitted a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking the release of C–130 cargo planes purchased from Lockheed and impounded by U.S. authorities.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 739, Country Files, Africa, Libya, Volume II. Confidential; Exdis.