37. Telegram 8469 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Libya1

8469. Subject: Response to Libyan Protest Over Violation of Civilian Airspace. Ref: Tripoli 38.

1. Please deliver the following note at appropriate level of the Foreign Ministry at earliest opportunity.

2. Begin text. (After compliments) the Government of the United States acknowledges receipt of the note of the Libyan Arab Republic of January 10, 1975 concerning the flights of United States military aircraft on January 10 and wishes to inform the Libyan Arab Republic that these aircraft at no time approached closer than 25 nautical miles of the Libyan coast and remained at all times over international waters under positive radar control. The flight personnel were aware of the presence of civilian aircraft in the area and maintained appropriate distance from these aircraft. There was no pursuit of civilian aircraft nor were civilian aircraft in any way endangered by these flight operations. The Government of the United States wishes to assure the Government of the Libyan Arab Republic that the United States aircraft in question were on a routine mission over international waters, in keeping with the longstanding United States position on freedom of flight in such areas. Such flights in no way constitute a threat against any sovereign nation. The United States Government takes note of the reference to several serious and positive initiatives by the Government of the Libyan Arab Republic and would like to inform the Libyan Arab Republic that it is prepared to continue the dialogue begun by these initiatives in the hope of improving the state of relations between our two governments. (Complimentary close) End text.

  1. Summary: The Embassy was instructed to deliver a note from Kissinger to the Foreign Ministry responding to Libya’s protest over a U.S. violation of civilian airspace. Kissinger asserted that the aircraft was on a routine mission, remained in international waters at all times, and neither pursued nor endangered Libyan civilian aircraft.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 3, Libya, State Department Telegrams. Secret; Niact Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Donald L. Jameson in NEA/AFN; cleared by Arnold L. Raphel in P, Colonel Mahlberg in OSD/ISA, Gammon in S/S, and Colonel Frederic J. Flemings in PM/ISO; and approved by Atherton. In telegram 60 from Tripoli, January 15, the Embassy informed the Department that the note was delivered to the Foreign Ministry that morning. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)