23. Telegram 168661 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Libya1

168661. Subject: Libyan Oil Negotiations.

1. Embassy should deliver immediately following note to highest level available in Foreign Ministry. Since delivery will be on Friday, request that official who receives note transmit it to his superiors immediately.

2. Precise text is as follows: Quote The Government of the United States has noted with deep concern reports to the effect that, if certain U.S. oil companies operating in Libya do not accept proposals of the Government of the Libyan Arab Republic for sale of a proportion of their interests to it, LARG will nationalize the operations of these companies in Libya. The United States Government wishes to urge the LARG to continue its negotiations with the companies with a view to [Page 76] arriving at an amicable settlement of outstanding problems. The USG supports the position of the companies that this matter should be settled in a manner consistent with the obligations of the parties.

3. The U.S. Government wishes to express the hope that the LARG will give careful consideration to proposals of the companies and that no definitive action will be taken by the LARG which may have the effect of prejudicing the interests of all parties concerned. Unquote.

4. FYI: Decision send this note made at high level White House chaired inter-departmental meeting August 23. Purpose is to show support for US oil companies at this critical juncture in their negotiations with LARG. It has been very carefully drafted so as to minimize offense or provocative opportunity to LARG. End FYI.

  1. Summary: The Embassy was instructed to deliver a note to the Libyan Foreign Ministry concerning the nationalization of U.S. oil companies.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential; Niact Immediate. Drafted by George M. Bennsky in EB/ORF/FSE, and Counselor on International Law Stephen M. Schwebel; cleared by Deputy Legal Adviser Mark B. Feldman, Ross, Saunders, Executive Director Council on International Economic Policy Peter Flanigan, Barnes, and Armstrong; and approved by Porter. In telegram 1091 from Tripoli, August 26, the Embassy informed the Department that the note was delivered to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs duty officer on August 24. (Ibid.)