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1964-1968, Volume XXIV

Department of State
Washington, DC

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90. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Libya/1/

Washington, July 16, 1967, 3:02 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 15 LIBYA-US. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Root, cleared by Colonel Kennedy in DOD/ISA, and approved by Palmer. Repeated to London, CINCEUR, and CINCUSAFE.

7607. Tripoli 185./2/ Agree you are proceeding along right lines in conversation with Bishti. You may tell him we deeply gratified it is GOL's policy retain ties with traditional friends, understand GOL's present political problem and through discussion are anxious to help GOL surmount problem. We will welcome Bishti's suggestions for how best to do so.

/2/In telegram 185 from Tripoli, July 15, Newsom reported that following the swearing in of a new Prime Minister and Cabinet, Bishti had told him that the Libyan Government's policy was to retain ties with its traditional allies as possible, and that he wished Wheelus were farther away from Tripoli and less conspicuous. Newsom replied that Wheelus was an important installation and the United States hoped to retain it for as long as possible. However, the United States recognized the Libyan Government's special problems and was prepared to discuss how it could help meet these. Newsom also told the Foreign Minister that he thought it preferable that the two of them discuss the various possibilities before any committees were formed. (Ibid.)

On availability info on 1964 negotiations we concur in reply you gave Bishti.

FYI. Bishti seems bothered mainly by problems resulting from proximity Wheelus to Tripoli. Our impression is he does not yet have clear idea of what he or GOL will want us to do and that he probably welcomes suggestions you make to him. End FYI.



91. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Special Committee of the National Security Council (Bundy) to the Under Secretary of State (Katzenbach)/1/

Washington, July 28, 1967.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL LIBYA-US. Secret.

Rebuilding our Position in Libya

As I think about unexpected willingness of the new Libyan government to rebuild some kind of relationship with us, it occurs to me that we face an opportunity here that reaches beyond Libya itself and even beyond the current Middle East crisis.

My life at the Ford Foundation/2/ has taught me a little about the difficulty of maintaining our position in countries where AID has legitimately phased out. Now I understand that after a decade and some $200 million worth of aid, the last American technicians are about to pull out of Libya (a) because they are more expensive and the USG has no way of topping off salaries the Libyan Government will pay to cheaper European advisers and (b) because the USG has no really responsive mechanism for pulling together the kind of technical assistance the Libyans need now.

/2/McGeorge Bundy was the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs until February 28, 1966, after which he became President of the Ford Foundation. From June until August 1967, he served as Executive Secretary of the Special Committee of the National Security Council.

Having invested so much, we will look ridiculous if our technicians must give way to Europeans in the Libyan ministries just at a time when they would be in a position to direct commercial purchases toward US suppliers, and at a time when the Libyan ministries are still so much in formative stage. Libya's income has matured far beyond the government's ability to use it. Consequently, AID has phased out too soon, in terms of overall US interests, even though on economic and Congressional grounds, it has done the logical thing.

I am wondering therefore whether in the context of the Middle East crisis we could not find quickly some way to put together a small fund of up to $300,000 to underwrite the gradual return of a few technicians during the critical period ahead. I realize this is being considered in our contingency planning for Libya and that it gives AID problems. However, this seems important enough to be worth an experimental shot. (The idea also has implications elsewhere--as in Iran.)

As I understand it, there is no way AID can do this with existing funds. I suppose the only quick way to manage this, therefore, is a quick trip to Congress to try to write it into the new aid bill. I know Bill Gaud would worry that Congress would simply earmark some of his current depleted funds for this purpose. This is a real danger which we should consider, but I don't think it is sufficient to dismiss the idea. Could you give me a ring if you feel we ought to do something about this.



92. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Tobruk, Libya, August 30, 1967.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL LIBYA-US. Secret. Drafted by Suddarth on September 6. The conversation was held at the Royal Palace (Bab Zaytun). The source text is enclosure 1 of airgram A-61 from Tripoli, September 7. (Ibid.)

His Majesty King Idris al-Senussi, King of Libya
The Honorable David D. Newsom, American Ambassador
Roscoe S. Suddarth (Interpreter), Political Officer

1. Royal Trip to Turkey
2. The Khartoum Conference and Middle East Situation
3. King Husayn's Visit
4. Wheelus Base Negotiations
5. U.S. and U.K. Commitments to Libyan Defense
6. Strengthening Libyan Internal Security

1. Royal Trip to Turkey. The King and Queen received the Ambassador and Mrs. Newsom and family in the living room of the Royal Palace of Bab Zaytun at Tobruk. After several minutes of pleasantries the King revealed that he and the Queen would be leaving by ship from Tobruk Saturday, September 2 on a five-week trip to Turkey. He said he was tired, partly from work, and wished to take the mineral baths at Bursa, Turkey. He would have to wait until the Crown Prince returned from the Arab Heads of State Conference in Khartoum on Friday, September 1, since both the King and the Crown Prince were not, under the constitution, to be out of the country at the same time. The King would be accompanied by the Queen, Fathi Khoja, Master of Royal Ceremonies, and Miss Hind Ayoubi. The King said he had visited Turkey on an official visit in 1957 but that this visit would be strictly personal. The Ambassador mentioned that the American Ambassador to Turkey, Ambassador Hart, was formerly Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and spoke Arabic. The King said he would welcome meeting Ambassador Hart and expected to be seeing a lot of the Libyan Ambassador to Turkey during his vacation.

(At this point the Queen and Mrs. Newsom left the room.)

2. The Khartoum Conference and the Middle East Situation. The Ambassador asked the King his forecast of the outcome of the Khartoum Conference. The King explained that he expected the conference to proceed in an orderly fashion, with the opening session, three days of secret meetings and a close. He did not expect it to produce any agreement among the Arab states. Algeria and Syria were radical states opposed to recognizing the realities of the Israeli situation, the UAR had lost a great deal of leadership due to its military collapse, and the rest of the Arab states would be generally following along behind, anxious not to get too far out of step with the UAR. The Ambassador offered that the USG hoped the radical view of the existence of Israel would not prevail, as it was harmful to the Arabs' basic interests. King Idris said he thought that Bourguiba had the most realistic view of the situation, by recognizing that Israel, even though its formation as a state was an injustice, could not be ignored. This the Israelis had proven during the June war. And indeed, continuing refusal to admit these realities was hurting the Arab states. In for instance the Arab boycott of America and Britain, Britain was in fact buying oil from Russia, and West Germany was getting oil from Venezuela. The Ambassador interjected that the boycott was however hurting Britain, even though it was hurting the Arab states most of all. The King said that Libya had originally been against instituting the boycott and asserted apologetically that "a lot of untruths have been written about that affair"--which were largely the work of UAR press media and Embassies, which, he mentioned, were regularly distributing money. The King said the Egyptians only had themselves to blame if they lost the war. His Majesty understood that three or four Egyptian military defectors had pin-pointed Egyptian airfields for the Israelis who surprised the Egyptians and bombed their airfields while the Egyptians were "eating beans" (fuul) at nine a.m. on June 5.

King Idris said Israel spends its resources on unifying its efforts while Egypt spends its money on sowing dissension (fitan) in other countries. The Ambassador interjected that the influence of the United States was quite limited with regard to Israel, partly because Israel had defended itself so successfully. King Idris said he realized that "Israelis" around the world were supporting Israel financially as a part of their religious identification with Israel.

King Idris went into a discussion of the Alexandria Summit of 1964 and observed that it had been divided from the start: Faysal was mainly interested in Yemen, Kuwait was paying money to the UAR to keep Nasser quiet, Husayn was interested mainly in money question and the Palestine organization, etc.

King Idris spoke disparagingly of Prime Minister Husayn Maaziq's handling of the riots in June, saying that he should have thrown a few people into jail immediately and that would have stopped the disturbances.

3. King Husayn's Visit. The Ambassador asked about the results of King Husayn's visit with His Majesty. King Idris concentrated his answer on the problem of Jerusalem, which he said was uppermost in King Husayn's mind. King Idris said that Muslem holy places such as the Aqsa Mosque were in Israeli-held territory, as well as Christian holy places. He mentioned the possibility of arranging international control of Jerusalem in which Israel would be allowed a voice.

King Idris praised King Husayn and said he was providing himself a good diplomat. People who said that Husayn was a coward were unjust to him since he is only looking to further the interests of his country in very difficult circumstances.

4. Wheelus Base Negotiations. The Ambassador then explained that he had requested the audience with His Majesty in order to review the status of the negotiations on Wheelus Air Force Base. King Idris replied that he too was concerned with that subject. In a few words, the Ambassador said that he was satisfied with the negotiations and with the friendly atmosphere in which they were held. He felt that the observer mechanism, as agreed to in the joint communique,/2/ would provide a means of stretching out the negotiations over a long period of time, in accordance with the desires of both His Majesty and the United States Government. (King Idris nodded assent to this statement.) The USG felt that greater contact was needed between the Base and the GOL and was glad to see the appointment of a high-ranking Libyan officer, Brigadier Zantuti, to that position.

/2/Telegram 695 from Tripoli, August 17, transmitted the text of the joint communique agreed upon during the second session of the U.S.-Libyan talks on Wheelus on August 17. The communique announced that in preparation for establishing a program for U.S. withdrawal from the base, a Libyan committee would be formed and headquartered at Wheelus in order to undertake an inventory, to observe the activity at the base, and to act as liaison between Libyan and U.S. authorities. (Ibid., DEF 15 LIBYA-US)

King Idris asked if the USG had agreed to the terms of the communique "in all liberty" or whether it had acquiesced under pressure from the Libyan Government. The Ambassador replied that his Government had agreed without coercion, but that it required five hours to come to the agreement on one point and, as a result, Foreign Minister Bishti said he no longer felt it was easy to deal with Californians.

King Idris said he was concerned about the reference to the closing of Wheelus in the event of the recurrence of an emergency in the Middle East and wondered if the USG agreed with that proposition. The Ambassador replied that in the communique the two sides agreed only to consult together regarding the possibility of closing the Base in such an emergency. This bone of contention was the subject of five hours of the negotiations.

King Idris insisted: "Then your Government was not in agreement with the Libyan Government." Ambassador Newsom replied that both sides recognized the necessity of taking measures to avoid exposing the Base to charges and rumors that it would be used against the interests of the Arabs in such an emergency. They hoped to dispel mistaken notions like that one held by His Majesty's friend, Khalid al Gargoni, from Tripoli, who apparently believed that 2,000 American and British planes had landed in Israel. King Idris then recalled a story of the American pilot who claimed the U.S. had no need of aircraft from Wheelus to help Israel since it had sufficient aircraft for that purpose on carriers in the Mediterranean.

The Ambassador then explained that after discussion the Libyan delegation had changed some of its language at the Ambassador's insistence and had agreed to the principle of consultation. King Idris showed great interest in how this procedure would work in practice and appeared satisfied and relieved when the Ambassador said that in such an event the USG would expect that His Majesty's opinion would be included in any such consultation. King Idris then said assertively, "Let them come to me."

The Ambassador said there was one further worrisome point: the Libyan delegation had insisted on referring to the "evacuation and liquidation" of Wheelus in the communique. The USG recognized that political conditions had not returned to normal and that the Libyan Government felt obliged to take account of political considerations in the communique. The USG hoped that the GOL would let the matter rest there, for the Ambassador feared that further statements along those lines might lead the Libyan public to expectations which were not in accordance with the desire of either government. The Ambassador was hopeful that this type of statement would not be repeated; and if the negotiating position of the GOL should in the future change from the desired course the Ambassador would like to consult with His Majesty. King Idris agreed that he should do so.

The Ambassador inquired if the King had any thoughts with regard to the return of the Royal Libyan Air Force to Wheelus. King Idris replied that the RLAF had demonstrated its need for a purge (tathiir) during the events of June, which was currently being undertaken. (As an example of Air Force disloyalty, he referred to an incident involving collusion between a Libyan Air Force officer and the Egyptian Embassy.)

In that connection, the Ambassador mentioned that Wheelus would be gradually resuming its pre-June level of operations during the next three months. This was very important to the USG in order to justify the Base's utility to the American Government from a military point of view. King Idris nodded in agreement.

With regard to the GOL request for modern aircraft, the Ambassador said this had been in abeyance since the events of June because of the situation in Libya and of U.S. Congressional review of the worldwide military assistance program. But, the USG is continuing to give the Libyan request sympathetic consideration.

King Idris replied that he appreciated USG efforts in that direction. The GOL, he said, is making every effort to purge the Air Force and to insure that only "sincere" persons would be flying such aircraft. He had no objection to continuing to pursue the aircraft sales program, but wanted to "go slowly".

5. U.S. and U.K. Commitments to Libyan Defense. King Idris turned the discussion to the problem of Libyan defense and asked point blank, "What is America prepared to do to defend in case Libya is attacked?" He said that America had important interests in Libya, including substantial petroleum investments and military installations. It knew that Libya was threatened by Egypt on the East and Algeria on the West. Algeria under Ben Bella and Nasser had agreed to divide Libya and then respectively turn towards Morocco and Sudan for further aggrandizement. Nasser had failed in Syria and Yemen but who knew when he would turn on Libya. King Idris noted that the Soviet Union was behind the UAR and Algeria (particularly Boumedienne). He also alluded to the fact that Russia during the post World War II U.N. debate on Libya had insisted that Libya be rid of foreign bases within four months after Independence.

The Ambassador then reviewed the contents of the letter sent by the President of the United States to King Idris,/3/ which indicated continuing U.S. friendships for Libya and interests in its security. It stated that the USG would consult with the GOL and other friendly governments in the event Libya security was threatened. This referred particularly to Great Britain which was tied to Libya through its Treaty of Friendship, committing Britain to defend Libya in case of external aggression. The letter also mentioned that the continuing existence of military facilities in Libya would help the USG to fulfill any such commitments to defend Libyan security. As His Majesty knew, the USG letter was not more explicit because, for constitutional reasons, the President could not go further in his commitment without consulting Congress. (The King replied in that connection that "the first Ambassador" had explained that the USG was prepared to go even further than the letter had stated in defending Libya.)

/3/September 1, 1965. [Footnote in the source text. For the letter, see Document 74.]

King Idris then asked "What joint plans do the British and Americans have for defending Libya against external aggression?" The Ambassador replied that the U.S. and Britain have been allies for a long time and often consulted each other over global problems. Far from being in competition in the Middle East, as many Arabs assert, the U.S. and Britain keep in close touch. As an example, in 1958 when the U.S. went into Lebanon and Britain into Jordan, the operation was highly coordinated. In the case of Libya the two powers keep each other aware of their military capabilities and general military political considerations. Planning was not more specific as both countries recognized that measures would have to be tailored to fit particular circumstances that might vary from time to time.

The Ambassador asked if His Majesty had revealed the contents of the Presidential letter to any of his Prime Ministers. King Idris replied that he had not done so because "ministers come and ministers go", implying that they probably would not keep the secret. The Ambassador asked if the Prime Ministers might not treat the Base questions somewhat differently if they realized the contents of the letter, which links the U.S. ability to help to the presence of the Base.

6. Strengthening Libya Internal Security. In the U.S. view, an outright military attack on Libya was less likely than difficulties arising from internal subversion. In this connection the Libyan Government particularly needed to strengthen its ability to collect and evaluate information related to internal security. As an example, the Ambassador heard a story that the police in Tripoli had recently followed the movements of a subversive Algerian until he left Tripoli. When asked where he had gone, a police officer said he had gone to Benghazi and admitted that the Tripoli police had not notified the Benghazi authorities of this fact. This illustrated that Tripoli and Benghazi security forces acted almost as though they were in separate countries.

The Ambassador understood that an office of security had existed on the national level in the government of Mahmud Muntassir but that Husayn Maaziq had disbanded it. He felt that the GOL needed such an office to collect and coordinate information on subversive activities in Libya. And the USG for its part would be willing to provide information on, for instance, Soviet and UAR diplomats if the GOL so requested. The King noted those remarks and said that by coincidence he had been discussing the same subject that morning and the GOL is planning to reconstitute that office in the near future. The Ambassador said he hoped the King would not consider his remarks an intrusion into Libyan internal affairs on his part, and King Idris replied that he considered it rather to be "advice from a friend".

Earlier in the conversation the Ambassador mentioned the GOL request for a variety of security equipment and said that the USG felt the GOL could use technical help in placing such orders. For example, the GOL had recently ordered five helicopters which had proved to be of insufficient range for effectiveness in Libya and which were provided with neither pilots nor mechanics. Accordingly, if the GOL so requested, the USG was ready to provide experts who could advise the GOL on the technical aspects of their security equipment. The USG felt it important that some experts (Americans or British) should be present to give such advice. The King noted these remarks and said that he recognized that Libyans still needed foreign help in the technical field until they could fully train their own people. And it was foolish to allow expensive equipment to be ruined because of mishandling.


93. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, October 17, 1967, 10 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 LIBYA. Confidential. Drafted by Sacksteder and approved in S on October 18. The conversation was held in the Secretary's office at the Department of State.

Resumption of Arms Deliveries

Foreign Minister Ahmad al-Bishti of Libya
Ambassador Fathi Abidia, Libyan Ambassador
The Secretary

Ambassador Trimble, Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
Mr. Sacksteder, AFN

The Secretary told Foreign Minister Bishti that he hoped we could soon clear up the question of arms for our friends./2/ Unfortunately, the Senate-House Conference Committee on the Foreign Aid Bill had been quarreling for a month over this question. This is a reflection of the serious concern of certain members of Congress with our military assistance policy which goes back to the India-Pakistan conflict of two years ago when both parties used U.S.-supplied arms against each other. The Secretary said that we hope we shall soon be able to go ahead with our agreement with Libya.

/2/As part of the U.S. decision to resume limited and selective arms shipments to Israel and moderate Arab states, telegram 58945 to Rabat, Tunis, and Tripoli, October 24, authorized the Embassy in Tripoli to inform the Libyan Government of U.S. willingness to proceed with the cash sale agreed to in May 1967 of 10 F-5s, half to be delivered in July 1968 and the remainder by December 1968. The United States was also prepared to resume shipments under existing grant and sales programs of equipment scheduled for delivery within the following 60 days, but the Embassy was reminded that the U.S. ability to go beyond this would depend not only on the FY 1968 African ceiling, but also on further Arab-Israeli developments. (Ibid., DEF 19-8 US-MOR)

Foreign Minister Bishti replied that he appreciated the Secretary's observations and was confident that we would do what we could to help our friends.


94. Memorandum From the Director for Plans and Policy, Joint Staff (Johnson) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Hoopes)/1/

J-5M 1335 1967

Washington, November 14, 1967.

/1/Source: Department of Defense, JCS Files, 842/365 (28 Aug. 67) IR 2543 Sec. 1. Secret.

Contingency Planning for Relocation of Military Functions from Wheelus Air Base (U)

1. (U) Reference is made to your memorandum,/2/ dated 28 August 1967, which requested that a study be conducted of alternative relocation possibilities, and associated costs, for the functions now being performed at Wheelus.

/2/Attachment to JCS 2264/41. [Footnote in the source text. The memorandum is attached but not printed.]

2. (S) The requested study/3/ has been completed by the Air Force and is forwarded as requested. The study recommends that:

/3/Distributed separately; on file in Joint Secretariat. [Footnote in the source text. The study is attached but not printed.]

a. Wheelus Air Base be retained.

b. In the event the Air Force is forced to withdraw from Wheelus Air Base, the Weapons Training Center be relocated at Zaragoza Air Base, Spain, and the other functions being performed at Wheelus Air Base be relocated as outlined in individual sections of the study.

c. Preliminary negotiations with the Government of Spain not be undertaken at this time. However, in renegotiation base rights with Spain (scheduled for late 1968/early 1969), care should be exercised that the agreement does not foreclose the option of future relocation at Zaragoza Air Base.

3. (C) This study has not been addressed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff; therefore, it is recommended that the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff be requested prior to any action being taken in regard to relocation of Wheelus Air Base activities.

Nels C. Johnson
Vice Admiral, USN


95. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 28, 1968, 10:45 a.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Libya, Vol. II, 7/64-12/68. Confidential.

Don Hornig's Report on Libya

Don's three recommendations in the attached warrant serious consideration./2/

/2/Attached but not printed is a report dated March 26 from Donald F. Hornig, who visited Libya March 8-10 as the President's representative to the International Trade Fair.

I. The most important and far-reaching is his proposal for tackling the problem of how we operate in countries where AID can't work. Right now this applies to most of the countries of the Middle East--either because they are AID graduates or too oil-rich to qualify for aid. What they need is not capital but American experts. Yet there is now, believe it or not, no systematic way for the USG to get one American consultant to any of these countries. Every time we send one, we have to spend endless hours jerry-building a special program and finding odd little pockets from which to pay for it. Meanwhile, Eastern and Western Europeans are flooding these countries and collaring contracts and political influence for their own capitals. After we've invested millions of dollars in aid, we now bar ourselves from being present at the pay-off.

This has the makings of an important new 1969 program. What this amounts to is developing a way to manage our post-AID relationships. In Iran, for instance, AID has pulled out and it's time to lay the foundation for a mature economic relationship between our two countries. Now that Iran is doing well, we want to cement our relationship in solid ways that can survive political storms.

At this stage, I recommend you just instruct Don and me to give you a more precise recommendation on how to proceed. State endorses the general idea, but we're not ready to be specific yet./3/

/3/The source text indicates Rostow approved this recommendation.

II. The Libyan Government would like a little boost in developing a small nuclear research program related to petroleum technology. State favors the idea and I see no reason why Don shouldn't go ahead and work this out with Glenn Seaborg. Libya will pay most of the freight./4/

/4/The source text indicates Rostow approved this recommendation.

III. Don recommends a visit for the young new Libyan Prime Minister. I will have Secretary Rusk's recommendation for you shortly.



96. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, April 11, 1968, 4:35 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Libya, Proposed Visit of PM Bakkush, 9/25-26/68. Confidential.

Visit for the Libyan Prime Minister

We have had in mind for several months your inviting the new Libyan Prime Minister. He has indicated his intention to visit the US soon but has not decided between late May or September-October.

Don Hornig, after his return from Libya, strongly recommended that you invite Bakkush, and Nick Katzenbach formally seconds that recommendation. State could work out an impressive program for him with our oil companies working in Libya and universities doing archeological work there. You would need only the minimum for him in Washington--a short office chat and a small working lunch for about 10 people. He speaks English well and has an interesting story to tell about Libya's rapid modernization.

Bakkush is important because he is the first Libyan Prime Minister from the younger generation. His appointment could begin to divert into constructive enterprise the growing dissatisfaction of Libya's younger, technically competent men. You'll remember the Shah's story about how the young hotheads of the early 1960's are now in the government working for the Shah's various programs. If the same could happen in Libya, it might be the step that saves Libya from radical takeover when the old king dies.

You will recall also Bakkush's highly constructive statement, which I sent you yesterday, on your address to the nation a week ago Sunday.

Nick Katzenbach suggests (attached)/2/ that you invite him for a small working lunch on May 29, but any other date about that time would be equally good. Jim Jones is holding open the entire week May 27-31 for a possible long Memorial Day weekend. Your schedule, however, would permit an office visit and working lunch on Wednesday, May 22.

/2/Not attached.

If you would prefer not to add anything to your spring schedule, we could schedule him in the early fall now that you have given us a go-ahead to develop a fall visit schedule. Even if you approved a spring date, we aren't entirely sure he could come on the exact date proposed, so we would wish to offer a fall date as an alternative anyway.

May we have your preference among these choices:

1. Invite him to short office talk and small working lunch on May 22. If he can't come then, invite him for September or October, exact date to be set later/3/
2. Disapprove May visit, but invite him for September or October, exact date to be set later/4/
3. Disapprove visit for time being

/3/A handwritten note on the source text reads: "No in May. Yes in Sept or Oct"

/4/President Johnson checked this option.



97. Editorial Note

The Report of the USAFE Survey Team on Expansion of the Royal Libyan Air Force, August 15, 1968, noted that the recent purchase of 10 F-5 aircraft from the United States would provide the RLAF with only a nucleus of a modern tactical air force. The Report recommended a 15-year time-phased development program, which would provide Libya with a small but balanced tactical air force capable of performing air defense and ground support roles. The Survey Team proposed the early development of a second RLAF base, in addition to Wheelus, at Benina Airfield, Benghazi. On November 20, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended that the Report be furnished to the Ambassador in Libya and the Chief of MAAG, Libya, for their use as planning guidance during follow-up discussions with Libyan officials. (Department of Defense, JCS Files, 842/534 (12 Sep 68) IR 5077, Sec. 1)


98. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant (Rostow)/1/

Washington, September 4, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Libya, Proposed Visit of PM Bakkush, 9/25-26/68. Confidential.

Bakkush Visit--5 p.m. Meeting Today

In introducing the substantive aspects of the Libyan visit, you might make the following points:

1. Bakkush represents the younger generation of western-educated, technically-competent Libyans who, a few years ago, were the main critics of the traditional Libyan regime but who, now, have found an outlet in the government itself and some hope of a voice in shaping Libya's future. One of the main themes we will be stressing is Libya's rapid economic progress and our desire to continue a close technical relationship with this new generation of Libyans.

2. As a practical move in this direction, during the visit we will be signing a series of technical cooperation agreements. These are important milestones. AID has phased out in Libya because of rapidly growing Libyan oil revenues. These agreements are designed to provide a framework for continued technical cooperation despite the fact that we are no longer in an aid donor-recipient relationship.

3. We will have to talk about the Arab-Israeli problem, but the Libyans would probably prefer to play it down and concentrate on their own development. We have an interest in that development too since American companies have the majority of concessions for developing Libya's oil revenues. We also have an important air training base there, which we hoped to continue using at least though 1971.

In short, this is not a major visit but it is one with some interesting angles to exploit in our public statements.

After this introduction, I would be inclined to ask Bess Abell whether there are any questions she would like to ask of the State people present. Bess has a guest list and gift suggestions. She will not have seen State's suggestion for entertainment. As far as I can see, there are no outstanding issues except that Bess may wish our help in paring down the State Department's guest list suggestions./2/

/2/On September 4, Prime Minister Abd al-Hamid Bakkush resigned and King Idris named former Foreign Minister Wanis al-Qadhaafi to replace him. On September 9, the White House announced that since Bakkush had resigned, the official visit scheduled for September 25 and 26 would not take place. (Telegram 235498 to Tripoli, September 10; Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 LIBYA)


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