The Libyan Arena: The United States, Britain, and the Council of Foreign Ministers, 1945-1948

By Scott L. Bills | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
THE MIGHT THAT FAILED

WHILE THE COMMISSION of Investigation completed its rounds, talking with Arab traders, artisans, herdsmen, and assorted passersby, the CFM deputies continued their London sessions, shadowed by a mounting sense of futility. The deputies quickly settled into routines much like those of the parent Council, with long-winded discussions punctuated by heated exchanges on procedure masquerading as principle. This tendency was exacerbated because the group had little to do but compile the views of what the Italian Peace Treaty termed "other interested governments" (see Table 8) and then monitor the COI and await its colony reports. It was a task that required much patience but no traveling.

By the end of 1947, the four powers had agreed on a list of nineteen "other interested governments" representing an appropriate ratio of respective allies and satellites. This collecting of viewpoints was essentially pro forma because the nations involved had already taken positions on the ITCOL issue at the Paris Peace Conference. And indeed, the more directly concerned any government was, the more often it had reiterated its opinion privately and publicly. There was little doubt as to what the various interested governments would tell the deputies. Nor were the four powers committed to any serious evaluation of the views they received.

What made this process problematic for the Western powers was the timing of the Italian elections. The Soviets had weighed in early, announcing in mid-February 1948 that they favored Italian trusteeship over all former colonies. It was a political ploy to which Moscow adhered steadfastly throughout the remainder of the deputies' deliberations. The irony of the USSR posing as a global champion of anti-imperialist movements coupled with its spirited defense of Italian colonialism (and debunking of Arab nationalism) was not lost on U.S. and British officials. But Italian affairs were on edge, and the Western powers cooperated to delay the presentation of views from the interested governments until after the April election. Anglo-American officials

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The Libyan Arena: The United States, Britain, and the Council of Foreign Ministers, 1945-1948
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps viii
  • Tables ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction "A Society of Victors" 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Spoils of War 26
  • Chapter 3 - Plans for Libyan Trusteeship 45
  • Chapter 4 - The British Working Party 63
  • Chapter 5 - Dispatch of The Four Power Commission Of Investigation 87
  • Chapter 6 - The Libyan Tour 108
  • Chapter 7 - The Might That Failed 133
  • Chapter 8 - Conclusion In the Libyan Arena 155
  • Notes 165
  • Select Bibliography 197
  • Index 205
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