Building States in Libya and Somaliland, the UN experienced the “deadline method” of state creation in 1949. This involved transforming key political institutions like legislative assemblies, constitutions, and governments. The UN’s experience in Libya and Somaliland helped establish state-building as a technical challenge for international experts, rather than a political problem to be solved by government representatives. UN Secretary-General Pelt advised British and French administrations on the appointment of Libyan Council members.

Chapter Summary 

In 1949, Libya and Somaliland became laboratories for the “deadline method” of state creation, involving the creation and transformation of key political institutions such as a legislative assembly, constitution, and government. The UN experience in Libya and Somaliland helped establish an understanding and practice of state-building as more of a technical challenge for international experts than a political problem to be solved by government representatives. In 1947, a four-power commission of investigation visited the former colonies, leading to clashes between Italian-sponsored and anti-Italian factions in Eritrea and Somalia. In late 1948, the issue was brought before the largely unprepared UN General Assembly, which stipulated that Libya (Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan) should become an independent and sovereign state by January 1952.

UN Secretary-General Pelt advised the British and French administrations on the appointment of Libyan Council members and addressing misunderstandings about the UN’s role in Libya. In 1950, British authorities in Tripolitania ordered a crackdown on the opposition, leading to approximately 850 people being exiled, housed, or imprisoned. UN Commissioner Pelt initiated UN developmental surveys to determine the basis for the future Libyan state’s functioning and presented international assistance as a temporary solution.


The United Nations, Development, and Decolonization, 1945–1965

By Eva-Maria Muschik

Columbia University Press

BUILDING STATES The United Nations, Development, and Decolonization, 1945–1965Postwar multilateral cooperation is often viewed as an attempt to overcome the limitations of the nation-state system. However, in 1945, when the United Nations was founded, large parts of the world were still under imperial control. Building States investigates how the UN tried to manage the dissolution of European empires in the 1950s and 1960s—and helped transform the practice of international development and the meaning of state sovereignty in the process.
Eva-Maria Muschik argues that the UN played a key role in the global proliferation and reinvention of the nation-state in the postwar era, as newly independent states came to rely on international assistance. Drawing on previously untapped primary sources, she traces how UN personnel—usually in close consultation with Western officials—sought to manage decolonization peacefully through international development assistance. Examining initiatives in Libya, Somaliland, Bolivia, the Congo, and New York, Muschik shows how the UN pioneered a new understanding and practice of state building, presented as a technical challenge for international experts rather than a political process. UN officials increasingly took on public-policy functions, despite the organization’s mandate not to interfere in the domestic affairs of its member states. These initiatives, Muschik suggests, had lasting effects on international development practice, peacekeeping, and post-conflict territorial administration.
Casting new light on how international organizations became major players in the governance of developing countries, Building States has significant implications for the histories of decolonization, the Cold War, and international development.

About The Author

Eva-Maria Muschik is a historian and an assistant professor in the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna.


Introduction: Managing the World

1. The UN and the Colonial World: International Trusteeship and Non-Self-Governing Territories

2. How to Build a State?: The UN in Libya

3. If Ten Years Suffice for Somaliland…

4. Moving Beyond Advice: Pioneering Administrative Assistance in Bolivia

5. Hammarskjöld, Decolonization, and the Proposal for an International Administrative Service

6. State-Building Meets Peacekeeping: The UN Civilian Operations in the Congo Crisis, 1960–1964




 Chapter 2

How To Build A State? The UN In Libya

Are freedom and independence the right only of wealthy people; are they the only people who deserve independence?

—Mustafa Bey Mizran, head of the National Congress party of Tripolitania, Libya

In 1949, Libya and Somaliland became laboratories for a new method of state creation that one observer referred to as the “deadline method”:1 when the victorious Allies could not agree on the fate of the Italian colonies after World War II, decision-making was left to the General Assembly, which stipulated that both Libya and Somaliland were to become sovereign states within a fixed time limit. While UN member states thus decided the supposed fate of the colonies, the question of how to prepare the territories for independent statehood within the given timeframe was delegated to the “administering authorities,” as colonial powers were called in UN parlance. They were assisted in this task by both UN government representatives and Secretariat staff on the ground.

The General Assembly framed state-building in these nations above all as a political project that called for the creation and transformation of key political institutions: a legislative assembly, a constitution, a government. UN officials in Tripoli and Mogadishu, however, soon called attention to nominally technical aspects of statecraft that urgently needed attention and investment so that the incipient sovereign states would survive beyond independence: that is, public administration, finance and economic development, education, and health. Confronted with the problem of crafting a sovereign polity, UN bureaucrats called upon the nascent UN development services. Initially, UN development missions were dispatched to conduct surveys covering broad categories such as economics, health, education, and agriculture with the aim of understanding how these soon-to-be-independent states might endure. Eventually, development assistance came to provide an answer in itself, as UN experts framed the new polities as sovereign states that were dependent on continued international assistance for many years to come.


Because of this dependence on financial and personnel assistance, some observers at the time deemed the new states—the United Libyan Kingdom (1951) and the Somali Republic (1960) — failed at birth, or sovereign in name only. Others viewed their tenuous status after achieving formal sovereignty as a necessary transitory period on the road to postcolonial modernization, which could be overcome with substantial foreign assistance and lead to full independence at a later stage. Still others questioned what independence could even mean in an increasingly interconnected world. What emerged from these discussions was a new understanding of sovereignty and the state in the postwar period, of how it would be financed and staffed.2

For the UN officials who were closely involved in the Libyan and Somali transformations on the ground, these “experiments of international decolonization” were a mostly depressing experience: the “administering authorities” and, later, the national governments disregarded democratic procedures; international material support for the new states was lacking; and both countries entered clientelist relationships with wealthy sponsor states. However, other officials who were further removed from these experiences soon began to regard the work of the world organization in Libya and Somaliland— which in turn was influenced by other UN missions at the time—as a model of what it could do for “developing countries” more generally: offer comprehensive developmental surveys, draw up plans for national development, and assist where possible with the administration of governmental affairs.

Though some historians have examined the UN debate leading up to the decision to grant independence to Libya and Somaliland, little attention has been paid to the UN involvement that followed in the transformation of these territories.3 Most scholars have focused on Anglo-American interests in the run-up to the decision to grant independence and, to a lesser extent, its aftermath.4 More recently, historians have explored the Somali trusteeship period through the analysis of Italian archival records.5 To date, no scholarship on either nation seems to have drawn on UN archival materials, though some work references its officially published records.6 This chapter and the next, by contrast, are based on a review of the archival papers of the UN Secretariat in New York, where the records of the UN missions in Tripoli and Mogadishu are kept.7

Analysis of these documents reveals the UN as a mostly supportive actor of the colonial powers’ lead in the Libyan and Somali state-building projects. When there were substantial differences of opinion between UN representatives and colonial authorities (for example, with regard to the internationalization of post-independence financial assistance) the colonial powers usually had the last word. For the most part, Britain, France, and Italy found quite reliable, useful allies in the UN staff. The latter were only too willing to approach political issues as technical problems calling for expert investigations rather than political discussions. The UN experience in Libya and Somaliland thus helped to establish an understanding and practice of state-building as more of a technical challenge for international experts than a political problem to be solved by government representatives. UN staff, moreover, lobbied tirelessly for international assistance so that the incipient states could properly function beyond independence, thus helping to legitimize a form of sovereign statehood heavily dependent on foreign assistance in terms of both financial support and personnel.


The 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, which the Allies negotiated with Italy, divested the former Axis power of all her colonies. The major powers disagreed on what to do with Italy’s African territories: Libya, Somaliland, and Eritrea. While the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France discussed bringing them under UN trusteeship in some form, they had differing ideas on how they should be administered and whether there should be a time limit to trusteeship. Rather than finding a solution through the recently established United Nations, the four powers first tried to reach an agreement through the extension of the wartime practice of great-power summitry by convening the Council of Foreign Ministers.8 Proposals there ran the gamut from schemes of collective trusteeship to a three- or four-power division of the territories to a restoration of Italian authority, with or without fixed dates of independence, with each power shifting positions from one meeting to the next. The main question in these discussions was not so much how and to what end the territories would be administered, but rather by whom.9

As a “collection of deserts,” the Italian overseas empire primarily held strategic importance for the great powers because it lay astride significant sea routes: Libya extended 1,200 miles along the Mediterranean opposite Greece and Italy; Eritrea’s 600-mile shore commanded the Red Sea approaches to the Suez Canal; and Italian Somaliland, with a 1,000 mile coastline, faced the Indian Ocean.10 The Soviet Union was interested in gaining a foothold in the Mediterranean—or at least in neutralizing the British presence in Libya, which already served the UK as a sea, air, and military base. Western powers adamantly opposed a Soviet advance in the region. The French were, moreover, resolutely opposed to the American fixation with timetables, fearing similar demands in their neighboring territories. Both sides had an interest in finding a solution that would reflect favorably upon them in the eyes of the electorate in Italy, where a Communist victory in the national elections seemed possible in 1948.11

Unable to reach an agreement, the former Allies decided to dispatch a four-power commission of investigation to visit the former colonies and survey the conditions on the ground.12 In late 1947, the commission set out on a seven-months’ sojourn first to Eritrea, then Italian Somaliland, and finally the three territories that would eventually comprise independent Libya. Although the visit was stage-managed by the occupying colonial powers, the differences among the government representatives, according to one historian, led to a fairly thorough survey and a revealing portrait of nationalist sentiment in North Africa.13 There were serious clashes between Italian-sponsored and anti-Italian factions in Eritrea and especially in Somalia. After several deaths occurred in Mogadishu upon the arrival of the investigative commission, the British authorities took a series of precautions against similar incidents happening in Libya. The final report of the commission brought the Allies no closer to agreement, except on the points that the inhabitants seemed unprepared for self-government, that the territories were economically poor and not self-supporting, and that a majority of the people did not seem to wish for a return of Italian rule.

In late 1948, when the Council of Ministers failed to reach an agreement regarding the colonies a year after the peace treaty, the issue was brought—by default—before a largely unprepared UN General Assembly.14 Here, the challenge shifted to finding a solution that would satisfy both a staunchly pro-Italian Latin American voting bloc (which advocated for a restitution of the colonies to its former imperial master) and the anticolonial Arab and Asian states (which vehemently opposed Italian rule), in order to achieve the necessary two-thirds voting majority for a decisive resolution. The Western Allies, meanwhile, had come to an agreement on the disposition of the colonies with the so-called Bevin-Sforza compromise, signed in May 1949. This plan envisioned the carve-up of Libya among the British, the French, and eventually the Italians, plus Italian trusteeship for Somalia and the ceding of most of Eritrea to economic development and limited aid. This is the nature of the relationship between Somaliland and the following countries: Ethiopia.15 Not least because of considerable protests in the territories in question, the plan met with opposition from African and Asian representatives at the UN and was narrowly rejected by the General Assembly.16 All in all, it took two General Assembly sessions, extended hearings with Italian officials as well as some “colonial subjects,” innumerable proposals, and prolonged heated debates, greeted with protests, “disturbances,” and repression in the colonies, for the delegates to finally reach a compromise solution in November 1949.17

The November 1949 General Assembly resolution on the “Disposal of the former Italian colonies” stipulated that Libya (that is, the territories Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan) was to “be constituted an independent and sovereign State” as soon as possible and no later than 1 January 1952.18 To aid the people in the formulation of a constitution and the establishment of an independent government, the General Assembly appointed a UN commissioner, choosing the former Dutch journalist turned international civil servant Adrian Pelt, who had been nominated by Secretary-General Trygve Lie.19 To assist and advise Pelt, the Assembly called for the constitution of a ten-man Council for Libya in Tripoli, composed of foreign government representatives (from the U.S., the UK, France, Italy, Egypt, and Pakistan) as well as one politician from each of the three Libyan provinces and one representing the country’s minorities.20 Somaliland, by contrast, was to become an official UN trust territory under Italian administration, assisted by a UN Advisory Council in Mogadishu, to be composed of government representatives from Colombia, the Philippines, and Egypt and assisted by UN Secretariat staff on the ground. The territory was to be prepared for independence within ten years. Eritrea, it was later decided, would become an autonomous territory in a federation with economic development and limited aid. This is the nature of the relationship between Somaliland and the following countries: Ethiopia.21

FIG. 8 Residents of the Former Italian Colonies Present Their Case at the United Nations in New York

Chapter 2 – How To Build A State The UN In Libya From Building StatesRepresentatives of the Somali Youth League, Ali Bin-Nour and Abdullah Issa (left), are seen with UN representatives of Eritrea (1949).
Source: UN Photo, UN7779931

Ironically, Libya’s two-stage advisory system of a UN commissioner and a UN Advisory Council (which was first proposed by the Soviet Union) gave more of a role to the world organization in the soon-to-be-independent colony than in the official UN trust territory of Somaliland, which, save for the Secretariat staff supporting the Advisory Council in Mogadishu, had no independent UN representative in residence. It is important to note that both of these UN advisory councils essentially functioned as political bodies composed of government representatives rather than UN bureaucrats or experts. As the following chapters will show, such international “political filters” would play less of a role in subsequent UN experiments in decolonization and state-building, which were increasingly approached as technical challenges for international experts rather than political problems.


The vast bulk of Libya’s 1,750,000 square kilometers lies within the Sahara on the shore of the Mediterranean. In 1950, it was bordered by Egypt to the east (then a British protectorate), the colonial federations of French Equatorial Africa and French West Africa to the south, as well as well as Algeria, which the French considered an integral part of their country, and the southern tip of Tunisia, a French protectorate, to the west. Cut off from one another through desert, the three territories that comprise Libya today—Tripolitania in the northwest, Cyrenaica in the east, and Fezzan in the southwest— developed by and large separately, despite the common spread of Islam and Arabic in the region during the Middle Ages. Home to many different, mostly Muslim ethnicities, in the early 1950s, the three territories were home to a very unevenly distributed population of a little over one million. Tripolitania counted about 750,000 inhabitants, Cyrenaica about 300,000 and Fezzan about 50,000. An early UN report estimated that the Muslim population—broadly divided into Berbers and Arabs—comprised about 1,050,000 people, while there were about 47,000 Italian settlers left in Tripolitania (Cyrenaica’s having been evacuated in 1942).22 Most inhabitants lived in the coastal regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. Agriculture and animal husbandry provided the main source of livelihood, though poor soil, desert winds, limited access to water, and occasional locusts, according to UN reports, made for a rather hostile natural environment.23

After an attack on Ottoman rule in the region in 1911, Italy established her first colonial presence in the three territories. Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan were conjoined as Italian Libya in 1934, following prolonged, brutal fighting interspersed with periods of relative peace.24 Resistance to Italian rule encouraged some pan-Libyan cooperation and nationalism in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.25 Fascist Italy placed heavy emphasis on settler colonization and agricultural development, accompanied by investments in utilities and public works. By 1940, 225,000 hectares of Libyan land were being cultivated by some 110,000 Italian settlers. The territory possessed a basic modern infrastructure, including a coastal highway that connected Tunisia with Egypt, which necessitated continuous, considerable expenditures from Rome. Libyans, however, had been systematically excluded from Italian investments in the territory—or worse, displaced and prevented from farming productively. Beyond the agricultural sector, local handicrafts faced unequal competition from Italian imports, which often survived only through state subsidies. Under Italian rule, Libyans were largely barred from political organization, administrative positions, and educational facilities. In the coastal cities of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, many were forced to become low-wage menial laborers.26

World War II and the slow expulsion of German and Italian troops from North Africa by Allied forces caused large-scale destruction in Libya: damaged or destroyed infrastructure, abandoned farms, and the extensive spread of land mines.27 At the same time, the Axis powers’ retreat fostered hope for autonomy among Libyans, who attempted to wring concessions from the Allies in return for supporting their war effort.28 In 1943, the British established separate military governments in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. In the latter territory, the U.S. also established an Air Force base that would become one of the largest American military facilities abroad. The Free French, the government in exile led by Charles de Gaulle, established a military administration in Fezzan. In contrast to the period under Italian rule, Libyan political activities flourished under the Allied military administrations. While the great powers could not agree how to dispose of the former Italian colonies, opinions with regard to Libya’s political future increasingly consolidated within the three territories. Many Tripolitanians demanded a unified, independent Libya. Cyrenaicans insisted on the future rule of the Sanusi Order, which had long dominated the territory’s political life, over either a unified Libya or an autonomous province. In Fezzan, almost half the population expressed its support for continued French rule.29

Though decision-making was ultimately delegated to the General Assembly in 1948, as mentioned above, the Western Allies sought to get ahead of the matter through the Bevin-Sforza plan, announced in May 1949. With regard to Libya, the plan, named after the British and Italian foreign ministers, proposed ten-year trusteeships for France in Fezzan, Great Britain in Cyrenaica, and Italy in Tripolitania. When the announcement was greeted with violent demonstrations in the two latter territories, supported by vocal Arab and Soviet protests at the UN, the plan was narrowly defeated in the General Assembly. The Western Allies then decided that an independent, though disjointed Libya might also accommodate their interests well—perhaps even more so than an official UN trusteeship could.30 Accordingly, Britain, again in an effort to obviate UN decision-making, unilaterally decided to grant self-government to Cyrenaica even before the General Assembly reached an official agreement with regard to the territories. France followed this lead in February 1950 and set up a transitional government in Fezzan.31

By that time, the UN delegates in New York had finally reached an official decision: the November 1949 General Assembly resolution 289 stipulated that Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan were to become a unified, independent state in no less than two years: that is, by January 1952. Until then, the British in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica and the French in Fezzan were to act as UN “administering authorities.” Adrian Pelt would be dispatched to assist the people of Libya in the formulation of an independent government, advised by the ten-man Council for Libya. UN delegates had acknowledged both in the General Assembly discussions as well as in the final resolution that economic and social problems might play a role in state formation. They placed explicit primary emphasis, however, on the political act of forming a government and drafting a constitution.32

Apart from overviews of Libyan history, there is little historical scholarship that deals with the formative transition period that followed the General Assembly decision and none, it seems, that takes UN archival sources into account.33 With support from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Pelt himself wrote a 1,000-page account of his experience as commissioner, which was originally published in 1970.34 Wm. Roger Louis examined the Libyan state creation from a British perspective, suggesting that independent Libya was not so much a triumph of the much-invoked principle of self-determination as essentially a British creation that depended on U.S. support and UN collaboration.35 Though the UN records indeed reveal a close, supportive relationship between the commissioner and the British authorities, they also testify to a number of disagreements, most importantly, on the issue of Libya’s post-independence monetary organization and financial aid to the country. The records also reveal a growing tension between the commissioner and the UN Council for Libya, where the representatives of Egypt, Pakistan, and Tripolitania pushed for a much more confrontational UN approach toward the “administering powers.” Pelt rejected the Council’s directives, and the commissioner himself was sidelined by the British and French when it came to matters of importance to their administrations. The UN involvement in Libya nevertheless helped Secretariat officials rethink the practice of state-building as going beyond the drafting of a constitution and forming a government. It also prompted them to rethink how a newly sovereign polity in the postwar world might operate.


According to Pelt, UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie had suggested his name for nomination as UN commissioner in Libya because of his expansive “experience of international life.”36 Pelt began his career as a journalist and joined the League of Nations Secretariat’s Information Section in 1920. As a League staff member, he served on several international missions, visiting British India, the Dutch East Indies, Manchuria, and Austria. During the war, he led the Netherlands government in exile’s information service in London and represented the country at the UN founding conference in San Francisco in 1945. He joined the UN Secretariat a year later as head of the Department of Conference and General Services, where he was in charge of the transfer of relevant League of Nations files to the UN. After his return from Libya, Pelt served as director of the European Office of the United Nations in Geneva from 1952 to 1957.

Pelt himself had serious misgivings about his own suitability for the assignment in Tripoli (a recurring motif among UN officials sent abroad): his knowledge of Libya’s history and geography was superficial, he possessed no constitutional expertise, was not familiar with Arabic or “the Islamic world,” and had not, until his appointment, even paid close attention to the question of the former Italian colonies.37 Despite feeling ill-prepared for his assignment, Pelt was adept at assembling a fairly large team of Secretariat employees to support his work in Tripoli.38 He thought that his mission could only work effectively if it enjoyed the trust of the UN member governments invested in Libyan affairs, that is, those represented on the Council for Libya. The best way to secure this trust, Pelt thought, was by appointing some of their own or other “sympathetic” nationals to his staff. Pelt thus set out to appoint an Englishmen, a Frenchman, “an Arab” (apparently regardless of nationality), and a U.S. citizen to mediate between London and Paris, a Latin American to placate the Italians, and someone “of Mediterranean origin” in the hopes of appeasing the Jewish, Greek, and Maltese minorities in Libya. Citing Eric Drummond’s report on the lessons learned from the experience of the League of Nations, Pelt suggested that the ideal civil servants were neither men without a country nor extreme nationalists, but those who felt their country’s interest was best served by international cooperation.39

Aside from paying attention to national representation, Pelt, by his own account, also favored an inclusive working environment with frequent staff meetings, few secrets, and a free exchange of opinions.40 Thomas Power, a U.S. historian-turned-diplomat dispatched from the permanent American mission to the UN in New York, became Pelt’s second-in-command as principal secretary of the UN mission in Tripoli.41 In addition to a deputy principal secretary, four political officers, and administrative and clerical staff (secretaries, interpreters, guards), Pelt also insisted on the immediate appointment of an expert on Sharia and constitutional law, a post filled by an Egyptian, Omar Loufti, “a mild-mannered lawyer with a penchant for quoting political philosophy” who would later represent his country at the UN in New York.42 The subsequent dispatch of social and economic experts, Pelt thought, would have to await an appraisal of needs on the spot.43

Before setting out on an initial two-part reconnaissance mission in January 1950, Pelt consulted with the governments that would be represented on the Council for Libya and solicited proposals from them for the appointment of Libyan Council members. At that point, it was unclear where, how often, and in what format the Council would meet (that is, open or closed to the public). From January 19 to February 7, and again from March 17 to March 28, Pelt traveled widely throughout Libya. By his own account, he and some his staff consulted several hundred individuals: political and religious leaders, representatives of minority groups, and private individuals. Pelt’s trips were as much about soliciting Libyan views on the country’s future as they were introducing the General Assembly resolution to the Libyan public and explain the functions of the UN commissioner and the Council. (No adequate Arab translation was available in Libya.) Above all, he sought to address two major misunderstandings: to explain that the UN would not govern Libya and that the commissioner and the Council would not impose a constitution on the country, but merely act in an advisory capacity. In private, though, Pelt admitted his intention to steer something of “a middle course between imposing solutions and giving advice,” in order to educate Libyans to formulate their own plans.44

After his initial sojourn in the territory, Pelt appointed the Libyan representatives to the Council for Libya in consultation with the British and French administrations. In Fezzan, representative Hajj Ahmed al-Senussi Sofu was chosen based on a large-scale consultation of public opinion. The French reluctantly approved, after initially insisting that no Fezzanese was qualified to serve on the Council. In Cyrenaica, the leader of the Sanusi Order, Sayyid Idris, presented Pelt with a list of eight candidates, from which Pelt chose Ali Assad al-Jerbi, the minister of public works and communications in the Cyrenaican government. Choosing a representative for Tripolitania proved more difficult. Ultimately, Pelt settled on Mustafa Bey Mizran of the National Congress Party. Although Mizran was accused of being a British stooge—and his appointment was indeed supported by the British administration in the territory—Pelt notes that he turned out to be anything but a mouthpiece, but rather a critical voice challenging the colonial administrations.

According to Pelt, it was hardest to settle on a representative for the minorities in Libya. The General Assembly had not spelled out which groups would be recognized as minorities, but the Latin American governments, which had insisted on the addition of a minority representative in the first place, had had Italian interests in mind. Ultimately, Pelt was able to convince the Jewish, Greek, and Maltese minorities in the territory to accept the Italian representative Giacomo Marchino. The Berber people, though too a minority living along the Tunisian frontier, were apparently not consulted.45

FIG. 9 UN Commissioner Adrian Pelt Leaves for Libya

Chapter 2 – How To Build A State The UN In Libya From Building StatesAdrian Pelt (center) with Thomas Power (right), principal secretary to the UN Libya mission, and David Vaughan (left) of the UN Department of Conference and General Services (1950).
Source: UN Photo, UN7710630

Ultimately, the governments represented on the Council agreed for the UN advisory body to convene in Tripoli. The British and the French had initially opposed this, fearing that critics on the Council might instigate “local agitation.” In his book, Pelt noted that he had been “of two minds” about the matter: on the one hand, he saw an advantage in having the Council meet in Tripoli, which would allow him easy access to its representatives and not require costly travel arrangement for the Libyan members. On the other, the commissioner feared having to share his scarce staff resources with the Council if it were to operate in Libya. To appease British and French concerns, Council members later decided—despite Egyptian, Pakistani, and Tripolitanian opposition—to hold their bimonthly meetings in Tripoli in private, so as not to “stir up public opinion.”46

Pelt and the UN mission were off to a somewhat rocky start with the “administering powers.” Before he started his assignment in Tripoli, an unnamed “high UK official” in New York had ominously warned Pelt’s wife over dinner that her husband would likely “break his neck” during the upcoming Libyan mission. Moreover, on instructions from London, the British chief administrator in Tripoli canceled a welcoming reception for Pelt at the very last minute to put the UN representative in his place. This left the commissioner, though greeted at the airport by other foreign officials as well as Libyan political and religious leaders, quite literally out in the cold. Sitting and chatting that same evening beside a blazing fire at the British residency, however, the incident was soon cleared up. According to Pelt, British civilian and military personnel blamed the UN for making their lives and work in Libya more difficult, and for ultimately depriving them of their jobs. They also accused the UN staff and their somewhat higher salaries for causing rent hikes in crowded Tripoli. Despite these initial resentments and continuing differences of opinion, by his own account, Pelt quickly established an “exceedingly pleasant and cordial” rapport with the British and French authorities.47

As will be further discussed below, Pelt’s relationship with the Council, by contrast, very soon deteriorated: Pelt blamed the Pakistani-Egyptian desire to control both him and the colonial powers for the tensions that developed. The commissioner insisted on his independence vis-à-vis the Council and pointed out that the “administering powers” only had to answer to the General Assembly; both the Council and his own position, he emphasized, were merely of an advisory nature.48


Pelt’s most immediate task in order to fulfill the General Assembly resolution was the creation of an all-Libyan governmental organ, which could then decide the form of the future state, draft a constitution, and form a government. The UN commissioner was greatly concerned about the separatist tendencies supported by the colonial powers’ policies of granting autonomy, if not outright independence, to the provinces under their control.49 In order to best protect British military interests in Cyrenaica and allow the Americans in Tripolitania and the French in Fezzan to follow suit, London wished to establish independent Libya as a loose federation. A federal arrangement also seemed like good compromise to many Libyan political groups, who insisted on regional autonomies.50 As mentioned above, both the British and the French administrations initially sought to create a series of faits accomplis by quickly granting far-reaching autonomy to the provinces they administered. Ultimately, however, Pelt convinced the British and the French to slow down the process of federalization, in exchange for his promise to assist with the negotiation of long-term agreements regarding military-base rights in independent Libya.51

The General Assembly resolution had called for the establishment of a unified independent state, an all-Libyan constitution and government. To achieve this goal, Pelt submitted a plan to the Council for Libya in May 1950, based on his prior consultations with foreign officials and Libyans: elected bodies in the three territories would dispatch delegates to form a preparatory committee, which would then decide a procedure for electing a National Assembly and draft a constitution. Months-long discussions followed, which concluded with an agreement to form a preparatory committee, but with appointed rather than elected members, which, in turn, would appoint a National Assembly (with equal rather than proportional territorial representation).52 Libyan representatives of the three provinces further agreed to the creation of a loosely federated state, to be headed by the Cyrenaican Sanusi leader Idris.53 The flip side of the loose federation arrangement was a heavily bloated government bureaucracy: in addition to two capitals, Tripoli and Benghazi, newly independent Libya would have one federal as well as three provincial administrations with government payrolls eventually amounting to 12 percent of the total GNP.54

When it came to the appointment of the representatives to the National Assembly in October 1950, Tripolitanian nationalists felt sidelined in the process. With Egyptian, Pakistani, and Arab League support, they called for widespread protests of the procedure as undemocratic.55 Demonstrators took to the streets in Tripoli and Pelt received thousands of petitions. Arab delegates attacked the arrangement at the General Assembly, and Cairo launched a sustained press campaign.56 The protests continued well into 1951, to the extent that a scheduled visit by Trygve Lie to Tripoli in March was canceled out of security concerns.57 At the same time, the British authorities in Tripolitania ordered a crackdown on the opposition, as a result of which approximately 850 people were exiled, put under house arrest, or imprisoned.58


Though Pelt was unhappy with the undemocratic process of forming a government and deciding the future shape of the state, he was even more concerned about the lacking administrative and economic basis for Libya’s impending sovereignty.59 “My main preoccupations are not of a purely political nature,” he wrote to Lie in August 1950.60 The commissioner drew a distinction between political and constitutional independence on the one hand and administrative and economic independence on the other. It was one thing, he argued, to draw up a constitution and organize a provisional government as requested by the General Assembly, messy as the process could be. But the question of the basis on which the future Libyan state would operate, he suggested, had been given little thought—both in terms of personnel and finances.61 For two years, Pelt would lobby for international attention to this issue. He initiated UN developmental surveys to find out on what basis the future Libyan state could function and ultimately presented international assistance itself as a temporary solution to that problem.

The UN commissioner pushed for attention to nominally technical matters from early in his tenure. When the Council for Libya first met in April, Pelt asked for advice regarding the scope of his work: should he limit it to consulting on the formation of the political institutions that the General Assembly resolution had called for, or should he also pay attention to the establishment of administrative services of the future Libyan state and its economic and social development? Pelt later noted that he received all the support from the Council that he could have hoped for, although members were “also sensitive to the possibility that he might tackle economic and social questions without adequately consulting [the Council].”62 When the matter was discussed at the General Assembly in the summer and fall of 1950, Pelt’s broader understanding of his mandate was again generally confirmed, though a variety of fears and suspicions came to the fore. The Pakistani and Egyptian delegates, for example, favored avoiding any reference to public administration, fearing that the colonial powers would manipulate any UN efforts in that regard to perpetuate their power. To Pelt’s great satisfaction, their objections were ultimately overruled: the final General Assembly resolution recognized the need for continued technical assistance to Libya “even after the attainment of its independence, for the development of its economy, for its social progress and for the improvement of its public administration.”63

But even before receiving this intergovernmental endorsement, the UN commissioner reached out to the UN headquarters and specialized agencies to seek support for his mission in the form of technical assistance. Pelt asked for an immediate expansion of his staff, to include expert advisors on such issues as agriculture, currency, banking, administrative and budgetary organization, and problems of land tenure.64 He also requested expert missions to draw up preliminary surveys of the country’s needs: a general one concerned with economic development from the UN headquarters and two more in the fields of education and health from UNESCO and the WHO respectively.65 Significantly, the first UN reconnaissance or preparatory mission to plan more comprehensive technical assistance for the country-in-the-making was initiated by the commissioner himself and sponsored from the regular UN budget, as opposed to being requested and funded in part by member states (in the case of Libya, the “administering powers”), as was customary for UN assistance.

The UN commissioner had earlier advised the British and the French to request a technical assistance expert who could make an initial survey of the country’s needs and coordinate technical assistance matters later on. Initially, Pelt encountered “hesitancy bordering on unwillingness to cooperate” on the part of both powers. It was only in June, when Secretary-General Lie had already agreed to green-light a first technical assistance reconnaissance mission to Libya without an official request from the British or French that both powers agreed to request a comprehensive UN survey mission. As late as August 1950, however, Pelt complained about increasing difficulties with the “administering powers” with regard to technical assistance. Both France and the UK were reluctant to efficiently cooperate and were “almost obstructing” the UN technical assistance effort, Pelt reported, without going into further details. He warned that if the situation did not improve, it would be necessary to bring it to the attention of the General Assembly.66


Representatives at the UN headquarters agreed with Pelt that the world organization had a major stake in the success of the Libyan transformation. Andrew Cordier, the American executive assistant to the secretary-general in New York, warned that a failure would be serious for the UN, which had a direct responsibility for the nascent country. While he deemed Libya’s constitutional development “satisfactory,” Cordier, much like Pelt, insisted on the urgent need for “training in administration and self-government” and making the Libyan economy “viable.” To UN personnel, these issues were closely connected. “The problem of economic viability and financial solvency is grave,” an early UN memo noted. “Could Libyan resources go further if properly managed and honestly administered?”67

To find an answer to this question, David Owen of the Secretariat’s Department of Economic Affairs suggested the dispatch of a UN technical assistance reconnaissance mission to help Pelt and the government(s) concerned think through their needs and prepare the ground for a more comprehensive developmental survey, which could then form the basis for a UN development “action plan.”68 He suggested Carter Goodrich, who half a year earlier had led a very similar mission to Bolivia (discussed in chapter 4). Goodrich, a professor of economic history at Columbia University and former U.S. representative to the International Labor Organization (ILO), readily accepted the task and embarked on a three-week reconnaissance mission in July of 1950. Goodrich described himself as part of the New Deal generation and dedicated much of his academic career to studying government involvement in economic development. Through the ILO, he had lobbied for the extension of a New Deal to “dependent territories” and the internationalization of colonialism, with a view to awarding them full independence as soon as possible.69 Goodrich was accompanied on his mission by African-American UN economist William Dean, who subsequently led a very similar reconnaissance mission to Somaliland (see chapter 3), and Belgian civil servant W. A. Kooy of the Social Activities Division of the UN Secretariat in Geneva.

Before setting out for Libya, Goodrich had been advised by the UN headquarters to consult with as many government representatives and officials of UN specialized agencies as possible.70 After consultations in Washington, Paris, London, Geneva, and Rome with government representatives and FAO, UNESCO, WHO, IBRD, and IMF officials, the UN reconnaissance mission arrived in Tripoli on 9 July 1950. Goodrich and colleagues then traveled widely by UN aircraft. Commissioner Pelt was convinced that the success of technical assistance depended in large part “on the enthusiastic collaboration of those who were to profit by it,” and thus arranged for the UN mission to meet numerous “leading Libyans,” including the representatives on the Council for Libya.71

Unfortunately, there is scarcely any testimony in the reviewed archival papers as to what Libyans thought of the UN effort or how their input shaped how UN representatives perceived the country’s needs.72 Pelt later wrote about a broad skepticism among many Libyans with regard to technical assistance: they had seen Italian experts come and go in large numbers, followed by British and French experts, without deriving much practical benefit from these visits. Pelt thought that this attitude was not altogether fair, though understandable enough in a people who had long been exploited, only to come later into a “caretaker regime” under UN supervision.73 Many Libyans argued that it was preferable to receive financial rather than technical assistance, but UN experts insisted that an economic appraisal had to precede any requests for financial aid.74 Beyond this, Pelt suggested, the meetings with Goodrich and his team had the important effect of making Libyans “accept the fact that their country was really in the red,” which many had previously assumed to be a pretext used by the colonial powers to delay independence. Presumably, the meetings thus allowed UN representatives to drive home their point about an overwhelming need for outside assistance to support the Libyan state-building project.75

To better assist Libyans in this project, the Goodrich mission recommended immediately expanding the permanent UN presence in the country. Twenty or more specialists in the fields of public finance, agriculture, social welfare, and statistics, they said, should assist the commissioner to advise the Libyan government on these matters. A deputy principal secretary should coordinate all technical assistance efforts in the territory and, when possible, initiate an expansion of assistance. Goodrich noted that UN staff extensions in the fields of currency, banking and exchange, public administration, and land tenure had already been authorized and deferred recommendations in the fields of education and health to UNESCO and the WHO, which had already sent their own technical assistance missions to Libya.76 One of the most important aims of any assistance effort, Goodrich thought, was to help the new government build up the state’s administrative, social, and economic services. Pelt later noted Libyan suspicions with regard to existing public administration training schemes: was the training of young Libyans not merely a pretext to keep British and French administrators in power? “Would they not take advantage of the selection of trainees to push their friends and protégées and thus avoid accepting Libyans from critically minded nationalist parties?”77 Without explicitly addressing such fears, Goodrich pointed to the difficulty, if not impossibility, of embarking upon administrative assistance while the future Libyan state and government were only beginning to take shape. Once a provisional government was formed, Goodrich envisioned bringing in a team of UN experts covering the various branches of public administration to help set up a government bureaucracy.78

Goodrich’s emphasis on investing in bureaucracy reflected a growing consensus among UN officials that an effective public administration was a sine qua non for true sovereignty, or at least for successful national development. In a September 1950 letter to Pelt, FAO Director-General Herbert Broadly wrote that he agreed wholeheartedly with the UN commissioner’s assessment that the most difficult challenge in Libya was the creation of a functioning state bureaucracy. This was indeed the problem faced by many “underdeveloped” countries, Broadly thought. “It is very well for us to send technicians to offer advice, but unless some machinery is created for translating advice into actions,” he warned, “all our efforts will be futile.” He believed that all experiments in the field of international organization had thus far suffered from a lack of authority. In the script for a radio broadcast that he shared with Pelt, Broadley laid out his technocratic dream of a new “age of functionaires”—an international brotherhood of scientists, technicians, engineers, and educators—working side by side in the administration of sovereign states to develop the world’s resources and thus bring about global prosperity and security. What the UN was currently recommending for Bolivia—the injection of international administrators into the state’s bureaucracy—Broadly thought might pave the way to this dream of a “New Rome.”79

The introduction of UN personnel into sovereign state bureaucracies was still wishful thinking on the part of international officials when Goodrich—or rather his deputy, Dean—was finishing the UN reconnaissance mission’s report on Libya. While the United Kingdom was invited to comment on early drafts (and asked, for example, that the proposed survey consider the territories as separate but related entities), Swedish sociologist Alva Myrdal, who would later win the Nobel Peace Price and was then working in the Secretariat’s Social Affairs Department, also shared her views on the matter. Myrdal warned that social problems should not be lost sight of, in Libya in particular but also in UN development efforts more generally. While Dean thought that Myrdal was combating a straw man, Goodrich insisted that, given the “primitive” state of the Libyan economy, any social program in the country necessarily needed to be modest.80

The final report called for immediate practical assistance in various fields, but also insisted on the need for a general economic appraisal. Goodrich hoped that an economist “of recognized distinction, who has an understanding of the problems of an under- developed and agricultural economy” would be found for the job.81 Libya’s per capita income was so low, the report noted, that although government services were minimal (especially in the social and educational fields), they had depended on substantial “metropolitan” subsidies for a number of decades. An appraisal was necessary to determine which government services would even be sustainable in independent Libya; as a basis to ask for loans or other types of financial assistance; and to indicate how to increase the productivity of the Libyan economy and thus serve as a guide to the new government. Goodrich’s report emphasized that such a study would not have to start “de novo,” but could build on and extend existing knowledge of the country produced by the previous and current “administrations”—if they were willing to share it.82


As mentioned above, British and French authorities in Libya were initially reluctant to accept or even request a UN developmental survey.83 They thought that their own staff could do a much better job more cheaply, but they also resented the UN emphasis on approaching Libya as a whole, rather than as three separate territories.84 Yet when the Council for Libya (the UN advisory body in Tripoli composed of both foreign government representatives and Libyans) ventured to get involved in the matter and sought to establish priorities of assistance based on public inquiries, the colonial powers shifted position and insisted on leaving the matter to international experts instead. According to Pelt, British and French officials “smelled a rat” in the Council’s proposal to invite Libyans to express their opinions on technical assistance matters, fearing that public discussion might result in criticism of their rule.85 Because the UN moreover agreed to waive most of the local costs of the projected UN survey mission, both colonial powers—first the British, then the French, too—eventually signed the formal request for a comprehensive UN developmental appraisal.86

Other government representatives in Libya had mixed feelings about UN technical assistance—though for entirely different reasons. Selim Bey, the Egyptian delegate to the Council for Libya, for example, noted that he generally supported international assistance, since many social and economic issues in Libya required urgent expert attention. However, he disapproved that such assistance would be based on the recommendations of UN staff and, ultimately, on Pelt’s personal directives and desires. The survey envisioned by Goodrich, he argued, was ultimately far too elaborate and must have been “drawn up mainly for propaganda purposes … to create the impression abroad that something useful was being done in Libya.”87 What the country needed, Bey argued, was not “flying visits by experts, who merely produced reports,” but a few specialists, preferably from the Middle East, who would stay in the country and work with the current “administering powers” and eventually the government of the new state. Bey thus presented a vision of hands- on international assistance quite similar to the one featured in many UN proposals at the time, with the important difference of stressing anticolonial or regional solidarity. Above all, however, the Egyptian delegate insisted that financial rather than technical assistance was essential to help “penniless” Libya at this point.88

According to Pelt, most members of the Council commended the Egyptian remarks and it set up two subcommittees in the hope of exercising control over or at least supervising the UN technical assistance effort. Pelt suggested that neither subcommittee ultimately “did much harm nor much good”: the Council members lacked the necessary knowledge of and experience in economic affairs to effectively question or supervise foreign technical experts.89 He concluded that what really motivated the critiques on the Council was fear, borne out by events, that the Council representatives would lose their influence on Libya’s development. They were afraid that the UN’s and the “administering powers’” push to view the country’s problems as technical rather than political would relegate them to the remit of international experts rather than politicians.90 As mentioned above, Pelt rejected the idea that he functioned as an executive agent of the Council and insisted that the advice his office provided to the Libyan people was impartial.91 The developmental survey mission as envisioned by Goodrich, endorsed by Pelt, and eventually approved by the French and the British went forward despite the Council’s misgivings.92

From January to June 1951, Swedish economist John Lindberg set out to draw up a “balance sheet” or “inventory” of the Libyan economy with the help of the UN technical assistance team in Tripoli. Lindberg, who was born in 1901, had studied economics at the University of Stockholm and worked for the Swedish Royal Commission for Unemployment before joining the ILO’s statistical office in 1930. In 1936, he switched to the League of Nations’ economics section, where he was in charge of studies on world production. Along with other League staff, during World War II, Lindberg transferred to Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies. He then took up the position of visiting professor at Swarthmore College in 1948/1949.93 Before heading the UN technical assistance mission to Libya, Lindberg was part of the technical assistance mission to Bolivia. There, the American ambassador had accused Lindberg of being “an eminent exponent of Swedish socialism” and of wreaking havoc in the country by recommending questionable policies. Accordingly, Goodrich expressed reservations about Lindberg’s appointment as chief UN economist in Libya, but Lindberg was dispatched to Libya nevertheless.94

According to Pelt, Lindberg’s mission report on Libya in September 1951 constituted the first all-encompassing study of the territory.95 More importantly, perhaps, it was the first comprehensive survey to be published in Arabic and the first tangible result of the UN technical assistance effort in the country that was shared with what UN officials perceived as an increasingly impatient public.96 Lindberg encountered considerable trouble in drafting his report.97 This was due in part to delays on the part of the individual experts working for him and in part to disagreements with the deputy principal secretary of the UN mission in Tripoli about who was in charge of the survey. The main issue, however, was Lindberg’s caution with regard to the monetary system that the British envisioned for Libya.98 From the very beginning of his assignment, the Swedish economist advised against committing the future sovereign state prematurely to joining the Sterling area (nations whose currencies’ values were tied to that of the British pound sterling) as London wished, in order to bolster the postwar British economic recovery. Lindberg feared that such a move might hamper Libya’s independence and economic development.99 This position— though shared by Pelt—ultimately not only put Lindberg at odds with the International Monetary Fund advisors to the UN mission in Tripoli, but also cost him his job.100

To the dismay of the British, who would have preferred to leave the settlement of Libya’s future monetary arrangements to the British Treasury and the Bank of England, Pelt had asked for IMF expert support to advise him on the issue in early 1950.101 In September of that year, after Pelt pressed Secretary-General Lie for months to reach an arrangement with the IMF, two staff members were finally seconded to Tripoli: G. A. Blowers, an American who had previously worked on currency matters in Liberia and economic development and limited aid. This is the nature of the relationship between Somaliland and the following countries: Ethiopia, and A. N. McLeod, a Canadian who had participated in a technical assistance mission to Haiti.102 Alongside Tom Power, the principal secretary of the UN mission in Tripoli, both IMF experts consulted British officials and reached out to Paris, Rome, and Cairo to collect data and exchange views on Libya’s monetary future before their arrival in Tripoli. They then toured the country-in-the-making and spoke with Libyan political and business leaders.103 By the end of October 1950, Blowers and McLeod had submitted their preliminary recommendations to Pelt and the secretary-general.

The two IMF experts recommended that the future Libyan currency unit be equal in value to four shillings sterling. The “administration” of the monetary system, they wrote, should rest with a Currency Board domiciled in Libya and composed of both Libyan nationals and foreign experts. The currency should be tied to an exchange standard, they advised, but the eligibility of foreign currencies for reserve purposes and the currency of redemption should be at the full discretion of the Board. A 100 percent reserve in foreign exchanges was to be maintained at all times. A Stabilization and Development Bank should be established and furnished with capital by “all nations with an interest in the Libyan economy.”104 At the insistence of the British and French authorities, Pelt bypassed the Council for Libya and instead invited the UK, France, the U.S., Italy, and Egypt to dispatch representatives to a “Meeting of Experts on Libyan Financial, Monetary and Development Problems,” held in London in March 1951, to discuss the IMF experts’ proposal. Pelt later wrote that London and Paris insisted on such removed discussions “at the technical level” to avoid presenting the Egyptian, Pakistani, and Tripolitanian members of the Council with an opportunity for “political polemics.”105

According to Pelt, UN staff kept the Council informed of the progress of the technical assistance programs and the discussions on currency, foreign aid possibilities, and related matters. But when their reports were shared with the Council in the summer and fall of 1951, Pelt found that the critics of technical assistance “appeared to be totally uninterested” in the findings and recommendations and seemingly failed to report to their governments on the matter. He also admitted, however, that he had neglected to seek the Council’s formal advice on important issues or did so only pro forma. What was more, he opined, “those prone to criticize might well have thought twice before exposing themselves to the embarrassment of a devastating barrage from the Commissioner’s side, which not only could turn the documentation to the best advantage, but also draw on the professional knowledge of a highly expert team.” In other words, while Pelt showed understanding toward the disadvantages delegates from poorer countries faced in terms of technical preparation and staff, he was generally happy to leverage UN expertise to sideline the Council’s critics from having a say in Libya’s future development.106

Pelt himself asked Lindberg for his opinion on the recommendations of the IMF experts. The UN chief economist subjected the proposal to “grave criticism,” mainly because it did not explicitly discuss alternatives to Libya’s joining the Sterling bloc, but also because he thought that its policy statements about fiscal belt- tightening were contrary to prevailing economic thinking at the time. Lindberg advised “utmost caution” to avoid any premature commitments by Libyan politicians in the direction of the Sterling area.107 Pelt subsequently asked Lindberg to pay special attention to monetary problems in his own survey report, despite the IMF experts’ work on the issue on behalf of the UN.108

On the eve of the intergovernmental Meeting of Experts in London in late February 1951, British authorities shared their own proposal for Libya’s monetary future with the UN commissioner and his staff.109 In a nutshell, the British proposal promised that London would support the Libyan budget and take care of the country’s balance of payments deficits if a “sound currency” backed by a 100 percent sterling reserve would be established and adequate budget controls guaranteed through the installation of a senior British financial comptroller. Note issues would be made by a currency authority, which would operate “simply and virtually automatically.”110 States other than the United Kingdom could invest in the country by contributing to a development and stabilization fund (rather than the IMF’s suggested central bank). Only the UK, however, would directly support the Libyan budget.111

Pelt was unhappy with the proposal. For his opening remarks at the meeting he summarized the arguments against joining the Sterling bloc as follows:

1. Decisions on Libyan foreign trade and other financial matters might be taken on the basis of their effect on the Sterling area as a whole, rather than on what was in the best interest of Libya itself. 2. Membership in the Sterling area hampers a country, which wishes to develop its own economic resources. 3. Membership in the Sterling area discriminates against trade with other (non-Sterling) countries, and also against financial transactions with them.112

Pelt argued for international support of the Libyan budget or at least international rather than British budget control. (Libyan budget control, it appears, was not even up for debate.) He also urged that the country be allowed to retain some dollar earnings, which it would likely incur from the American military presence in Tripolitania. Earlier, Pelt had advocated tying foreign financial subsidies to Libya explicitly to the grant of a military-base right, but both the UK and the U.S. were adamant about not setting an expensive precedent for analogous arrangements elsewhere.113 All in all, Pelt thought that the monetary arrangement proposed by Britain would establish London’s de facto dominance over Libya’s economy and likely prove unacceptable to the General Assembly. British officials reportedly responded to this concern with an unimpressed “so what?”114

By the time of the third “Meeting of Experts,” which took place in Geneva in late May and early June of 1951, the other governments consulted had come around to supporting the British position.115 More importantly, the finance minister of the provisional Libyan government, Mansur Bey Qadara, announced that Libya would join the Sterling area and that his government had agreed to a 100 percent sterling reserve. Pelt later wrote that their failure to discuss the decision with him beforehand “was so unexpected a breach of confidence that normally prevailed between [us] that the event took on a quite exceptional character.”116 Pelt criticized the Libyan decision as premature, leaving no time to devise alternatives. More importantly, he thought the arrangement ran counter to the General Assembly’s decision to establish a truly independent state. Feeling “plus royaliste que le Roi,” the UN commissioner ultimately gave in.117 It appears that Pelt did not have much of a choice, given that British authorities were prepared to “run him down” had he not played along.118

Shortly after the Meeting of Experts concluded to British satisfaction, in July 1951, an early draft of Lindberg’s report was circulated among members of the Council for Libya and submitted for comments to British, French, and American officials as well as the staff of the UN Department of Economic Affairs. Representatives of the Tripolitanian National Congress party complained about the lack of time to study the report properly. To do so, they needed impartial expert advice, but British authorities, they charged, made it impossible for them to obtain or retain reliable men on the spot.119 London, in turn, swiftly demanded to delete anything from the UN report that could be construed as criticism of the recently agreed- upon monetary arrangement, threatening to withdraw budget support to Libya.120 In response, New York “drastically revised” the report accordingly and “released” John Lindberg from his position as chief technical assistance economist.121

UN representatives thought that the final revised document strikingly illustrated the weakness of the Libyan economy, so that the problem of development appeared even more difficult than many Libyans had anticipated.122 “Lindberg’s report” noted a hefty balance of payments deficit, as well as a budget deficit of almost $5 million, about 30 percent of total expenditures, and concluded that foreign subsidies were a sine qua non for the “viability” of the Libyan State.123 It also stressed the need for a long-term development plan. Given Libya’s largely illiterate and unskilled population, no domestic savings to speak of, and destitution in terms of raw materials and energy sources, the UN argued—much as Italian Fascist officials had previously—that its “natural line for economic development” was in agriculture and animal husbandry. Although the country was predominantly agricultural, the report noted, Libya was not self- sufficient in terms of food production.124 Industry would likely remain of small importance for the foreseeable future. The report concluded that the United Nations had a special responsibility to afford Libya the help necessary for economic independence. At best, the road to a “viable” economy and adequate standards of living would be long and hazardous, entailing considerable economic obligations for the world organization for many years to come.125


According to Pelt, the final version of Lindberg’s somber appraisal ultimately reflected “a distinct warming toward UN technical assistance” on the part of the “administering authorities.” British and French officials had realized that UN experts, “far from being ogres, were in fact, quite inadvertently, reliable allies, in that they advised the Libyans not to embark on projects which were impracticable or would require greatly increased subsidies.” Pelt noted that Libyans, meanwhile, continued to voice their disappointment that the UN supplied no means of providing loans, grants or budget subsidies to their country.126 The British and the French, however, readily agreed to request a third, still larger UN technical assistance mission to Libya with the goal of formulating a comprehensive development plan for the territory.127

From July 1951 to January 1952, a team of twenty-seven UN experts led by North American economist Benjamin Higgins—whose penchant for colorful shirts paired with very brief shorts and sandals reportedly irritated Libyan notables—prepared a six-year plan for the economic and social development of Libya.128 Higgins was born in 1912 in Ontario, Canada, and studied economics at the University of Western Ontario and the London School of Economics, as well as public administration at Harvard. He received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1941 and became a U.S. citizen the same year. Higgins taught at American, Canadian, and Australian universities and served as an advisor on various technical assistance missions in Indonesia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Greece, and Brazil. In Libya, he was eager to collaborate closely with the UN specialized agencies to work out a comprehensive development plan, hoping to set a precedent that might be followed elsewhere.129

As early as September 1950, UN officials had noted “local confusion” with regard to technical assistance owing to the rapid succession of expert visits.130 “In this day and age,” one UN report noted, “investigators, advisers, fact-finders, technical engineers and the like are found on every plane.”131 In July 1951, Higgins noted that “local officials” (presumably Libyans as well as British and French) would prefer material assistance—subsidized imports, reparation for war damages, and financial aid—or concrete development projects rather than the provision of more experts.132 Study trips that allowed Libyans to travel abroad, visiting Egypt and Tunisia, for example, to learn about agriculture and taxation, were also viewed favorably.133 To make matters worse, UN experts were essentially “birds of passage” on short assignments. Though most meant well, worked hard, and did good work, one UN report noted, they added to the “wear and tear” on officials in the British and French administrations, who often felt unfairly judged and ill-compensated for their cooperation with the world organization’s staff. As one such official complained:

You come here on a fantastic salary to write us up. I introduce you to everybody, show you around, answer your questions, and attend to your comforts.… You take my photo, which goes into an album with cactuses and canals. After a few weeks you retire to an alpine hotel to write down what I told you, leaving me to catch up with work.134

In addition to the UN teams’ comparatively high salaries, European officials particularly resented the effect of their large groups on local prices.135 To ease the work of Higgins’s team, the UN mission in Tripoli issued some behavioral guidelines that give clues about the comportment of previous UN experts. Experts were instructed to ask for interviews with colonial officials well in advance of their arrival and prepare their questions ahead of time, based on all publicly available materials. UN representatives were not to bother these officials with requests for tours, souvenirs, or entertainment, nor to ask for snapshots with servants. As far as Libyans were concerned, the guidelines patronizingly called for the UN experts’ patience, suggesting that the local population was not accustomed to planning for the future. The memo advised UN officials to be polite, accept invitations for drinks and food, and generally ignore the women. In another memo, experts were instructed to abandon the word “native” because of its “colonialistic” implications. Libyan requests for consultations without the presence of colonial officials were to be “handled with great care,” which testified, again, to the generally cautious approach of a UN unwilling to antagonize Western powers.136

Like Lindberg before him, Higgins noted that his team and the UN mission in Tripoli had differing ideas about the competencies of the other. However, his work caused much less of a stir than his predecessor’s.137 Higgins’s report was submitted as a recommendation to the Libyan government and officially accepted by it shortly after the country gained independence in December 1951. Late that year, the provisional Libyan government had established six working parties, whose (unspecified) members discussed the report’s findings with the UN team. “Many of those who attended the meetings,” Pelt noted, “were later to hold important political and administrative appointments in the government of Libya, and their participation in the preparation of what came to be known as the ‘Higgins Report’ undoubtedly contributed substantially to its acceptance and to much of its implementation.”138

Following Lindberg’s lead, Higgins’s plan was deliberately rural. He noted, “To anyone who thinks of ‘economic development’ as the process, which took place in the Western world during the last two centuries,” the plan devised for Libya “may seem strange.”139 Though development was then often used synonymously with industrialization and urbanization, the future that the UN envisioned for Libya, much as Italy had before it, was decidedly agricultural. With its emphasis on the countryside, Higgins’s plan also anticipated the recommendations of prominent American modernization theorists later in the decade.140 The UN’s primary goal for Libya lay in low-cost improvement of agriculture. On the one hand, Higgins recommended experimental work to determine the most fruitful lines of improvement; on the other, he envisioned labor-intensive “action” projects such as forestation, range improvement, the sinking of livestock-watering wells, and the building of check dams and other irrigation works. It was essential, Higgins wrote, that early results would be dramatic enough to demonstrate to the Libyan people that progress was possible, “to jerk the country out of the lethargy that,” according to Higgins, “had engulfed it in the past.”141 Much like U.S. modernization efforts later, he recommended prioritizing UN development projects according to their perceived ability to symbolize the arrival of modernity.142

The main goal of the plan, Higgins explained confidently and condescendingly, was “teaching the Libyans to do better what they [were] already doing” in order “to raise productivity per capita to the level where want disappears.” Education thus played a central role. The UN experts unanimously agreed that a solid basic educational foundation was essential for any developmental effort. Top priority was given to “an attack” on illiteracy and investments in teacher training and school facilities. More broadly, Higgins distinguished between worthwhile “social development” efforts and luxury “social welfare” measures. The former referred to programs and projects (for example, in education, public health, or housing) that were designed to raise the level of productivity by improving the conditions in which people lived and worked. Care for the aged or blind, by contrast, would fall into the “luxury” social welfare category. While the UN team reluctantly concluded that Libya could not afford social welfare programs at that point, Higgins thought that much “useful … work could be done by women on a volunteer basis,” particularly by expatriate wives.143 Strapped for money, the UN—like nationalist governments later on—recommended substitutes for “developmental labor” in women’s uncompensated care work.144

Though the UN plan contained no proposals for new industries, new transport facilities, or, as Higgins put it, gigantic investment projects of any kind, the restoration and repair of the Italian-built harbor facilities, water supplies, power plants, roads, and other infrastructure figured prominently in the projected development expenditures. Higgins’s emphasis on repair and maintenance was in part a response to Libyan requests for compensation and reconstruction of war damages, which, Pelt conceded, were “not only an economic problem but also a moral responsibility.”145 In his book, the UN commissioner did not elaborate whose “moral responsibility” it was to help Libya recover from the “ravages of war and occupation,” though to be fair, Pelt repeatedly raised the issue at the General Assembly—where member states failed to agree on a solution. Pelt ultimately concluded that his only chance to make the Assembly recognize the existence of a war damage problem in Libya was by dropping all reference to compensation and linking the issue instead with that of development.146 Accordingly, Higgins’s plan framed reconstruction as a problem of Libyan economic development rather than the moral responsibility of those who had inflicted the damage on Libya. UN talk of reconstruction, it appears, was reserved for Europe, while Libya had to aspire to development.147

Other UN authors framed the challenge in Libya, much like their colleagues writing about the Congo a decade later, as a very peculiar problem of development: namely one of maintenance. In this view, Libyans had inherited a “ready-made modern state” from the colonial powers, which one report unconvincingly likened to a “mansion” in need of expensive upkeep. In a similar vein, Pelt noted that the UN found itself in the paradoxical position of compelling Libya to reduce its weak administrative and social services, even though in the long run, international assistance promised to bring about improvements in the administration of the country and its standard of living.148 Overall, the Higgins plan required a budget of £2 million for the first year and somewhat larger amounts for the following five years—a small sum, he noted, in comparison to the needs of the country and the money that the Italian colonial regime had previously spent on development there. While Higgins hoped that the Libyan government would be able to shoulder about half of these costs, he also counted on assistance from the UN and the recently established, bilateral Libyan-American Technical Assistance Service. And indeed, Pelt later received assurances from the State Department that there would be full and close cooperation between the U.S. and the UN in Libya.149

Aside from financial resources, Higgins thought that the success of the plan would require “a great deal of skilled administration and much further planning.” Given the dismal educational situation in Libya, he concluded that administrative personnel would have to come from abroad. Yet even if it were politically and administratively feasible to integrate foreigners into the Libyan civil service, he thought, the country would be in no position to pay for their salaries. The “logical source” for experts, Higgins concluded, was the United Nations and its specialized agencies. He wrote that it would be “psychologically preferable” that foreign civil servants not be nominated by any single government. Their high salaries could be paid according to a formula recently worked out for UN administrative assistants in Bolivia, who were remunerated by both the specialized agencies and the UN under the Expanded Program for Technical Assistance (EPTA).150

When Higgins’s report was published, the administrative assistant scheme that integrated UN experts into the Bolivian civil service had only just been negotiated between the world organization and La Paz in late 1951. According to the principal secretary of the UN mission in Tripoli, it roused considerable interest in Libya.151 Going beyond the more limited proposal for UN assistance that was ultimately provided in La Paz, Higgins suggested that a UN resident representative in Tripoli coordinate the work of all foreign experts in independent Libya, while a UN deputy should serve as chief economist, helping to continuously revise and adjust the development plan. In addition, a large team of international experts, headed by senior UN officials from the specialized agencies in the fields of agriculture, health, and education, should “form an integrated whole” to help the new state operate properly—a vision strikingly similar to the UN program that Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld would launch in the Congo in 1960 to help manage that country’s crash transformation from colony to independent nation-state.152 The Libyan government was in its infancy, Higgins concluded. For some years to come, it would need a good deal of outside help in the general training of civil servants and especially with administrative posts requiring scientific and technical training or expertise.


The technical assistance program that was eventually established in independent Libya was the largest per capita UN program of the early 1950s, and in Pelt’s estimation, constituted one of the most intensive and most successful ones ever mounted.153 Some UN experts were indeed appointed to administrative positions in Tripoli, leading one UN leaflet to boast that the world organization helped govern the new nation not only by assisting ministers with policy advice but also by “running an important segment of the government.” The evidence: one UN expert subsequently ran the government’s statistical bureau; others worked out new tax legislation and revised the social security system; another served as advisor to the National Bank.154 UN personnel also helped to draft the statutes for the country’s development institutions, the Libyan Public Development and Stabilization Agency (LPDSA) and the Libyan Finance Corporation (LFC) and a UN representative would later serve on their respective boards.155 Yet, UN officials never assumed the central coordinating role for Libya’s development that Higgins had recommended.

An international fund to channel financial assistance to Libya was eventually established by the General Assembly, but no UN member states ever contributed to it. Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan made “modest contributions” to the LPDSA for varying numbers of years. However, until revenues from oil began to flow into Libya’s coffers after 1959, the bulk of the administrative and development budget deficits were met by payments from the United Kingdom and the United States, while the much smaller French subvention barely served to redress the financial imbalance of Fezzan.156 As the main long-term sponsor of the budget of independent Libya, London generally had the last word with regard to developmental decisions. Projects begun under the British administration rather than the novel ones envisioned by the UN development plan were thus the majority of those sponsored by the LPDSA.157

The majority of foreign personnel within the Libyan administrations both before and after independence were former British and, in Fezzan, French officials.158 A UN memo noted that these foreign civil-service employees enjoyed substantial authority.159 At the Secretariat’s prodding, UNESCO helped to establish a training center for Libyan civil servants, but this was led by a British principal, staffed with British-nominated teachers, and built on British curricula and syllabi. The French apparently ignored the training center altogether, preferring instead to send qualified Fezzanese to France or Algeria for training.160 Most importantly, London continued to insist on its monopoly to advise or even control the Libyan government with regard to financial and budgetary matters in return for financial assistance. In October 1951, the former British chief administrator in Tripoli wrote to Adrian Pelt that his government was unable to accept that the preparation of a development program should come within the competence of the UN resident representative; nor could the British agree that the UN representative should have even advisory functions vis-à-vis the Libyan government. “I wish to make this point quite clear,” the letter concluded.161

Reporting to Secretary-General Lie on his two-year mission in the country in May 1952, Pelt noted that a principal flaw in Libyan independence was its financial dependence on other governments. He argued, however, that the assistance came from different sources, and that, although the British were dominant, these influences tended to balance themselves out, allowing the Libyans some room to maneuver. (Tripoli ultimately received substantial financial support from the UK, the U.S., and France. In the run-up to independence, the British promised to spend £1.5 million a year for a twenty-five-year period. Washington offered to pay $1 million a year for twenty years.162) Without discussing the bloated bureaucracy mentioned above, Pelt worried that the new policy, which the UN had helped to set up, was weakest from the point of administration. The country, he thought, did not have a sufficiently large number of Libyan civil servants, and foreign employees held most of the top posts in the Libyan government.163 As noted above, Pelt’s concern with public administration was very much in tune with the work of other UN technical assistance missions, regardless of whether they were visiting trust territories, newly independent states, or longer-established underdeveloped countries. In the golden years of state-led development, UN officials saw government bureaucracies as the main impediment or engine of national progress and self-determination—and paradoxically, also as the most fruitful point for outside intervention.

Pelt’s discussion with the secretary-general turned to the question of the “applicability of the Libyan pattern to other parts of Africa.”164 When driving through neighboring Tunisia (then a French protectorate), the UN commissioner noticed that “the new Libyan license plates had certainly drawn the attention from nationalist crowds.”165 Yet he also warned vaguely of “a danger for the UN to undertake too much” on the African continent and elsewhere.166 Along with many observers at the time, Pelt was unsure of how UN experiments in state-building would turn out; he wondered whether they would contribute to world peace or, rather, cause further disruption.167 In many ways, the Libyan experience had been more sobering than exhilarating to the UN officials involved, demonstrating that it was one thing to declare the founding of an independent state in New York and quite another to build one.

While Pelt thought of the Libyan transformation as a unique international experiment in handling decolonization peacefully, his colleagues at the UN headquarters soon came to regard it as a model. Paul Hoffman, a U.S. automobile millionaire who led the implementation of the Marshall Plan and headed the Ford Foundation before joining the United Nations as director of the Special Fund, presented UN assistance to Libya as “a kind of microcosm of what the UN tries to do for a traditional society” more generally.168 And indeed, the UN experience in Libya set an important precedent in presenting state-building increasingly as a technical challenge and an operational field for international experts rather than a political process. Pelt himself suggested in 1970 that while a UN “decolonization operation” akin to the one in Libya had not been repeated elsewhere, in recent similar processes, development agencies had tended to play an increasingly important role, whereas “political filters” such as the Council for Libya were no longer considered a useful device for state-building.169 UN officials involved in the parallel, though longer-lasting Somali state-building project took away a very similar lesson about the futility of “political filters” and the necessity of continued international assistance to the newly independent state for many years to come.

Chapter 1  Chapter 3 will follow 


1. Mark Karp, The Economics of Trusteeship in Somalia (Boston: Boston University Press, 1960), 13.

2. For similar arguments about the emergence of new understandings of sovereignty, see, for example, Timothy Nunan, Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016); Guy Fiti Sinclair, To Reform the World: International Organizations and the Making of Modern States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017); Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019).

3. Scott Bills, The Libyan Arena: The United States, Britain, and the Council of Foreign Ministers, 1945–1948 (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1995); Saul Kelly, Cold War in the Desert: Britain, the United States, and the Italian Colonies, 1945–52 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000); Awni al-Ani, “Libyen, Tochter der UNO,” in Libyen, ed. Fritz Edlinger (Vienna: Promedia, 2011), 102–23. For broad historical overviews, see Ioan Lewis, A Modern History of Somalia: Nation and State in the Horn of Africa (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988); Geoffrey Simons, Libya and the West: From Independence to Lockerbie (Oxford: Centre for Libyan Studies, 2003); Dirk Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Ronald Bruce St. John, Libya: From Colony to Revolution (London: Oneworld, 2017).

4. Wm. Roger Louis, “Libya: The Creation of a Client State,” in Decolonization and African Independence: The Transfers of Power 1960–1980, ed. Wm. Roger Louis and Prosser Gifford (London: Yale University Press, 1988), 503–28; Kelly, Cold War in the Desert.

5. Paolo Tripodi, The Colonial Legacy in Somalia: Rome and Mogadishu: From Colonial Administration to Operation Restore Hope (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999); Annalisa Urbano, “Imagining the Nation, Crafting the State: The Politics of Nationalism and Decolonisation in Somalia (1940–60),” PhD dissertation, University of Edinburgh, 2012; Antonio Morone, “How Italy Returned to Africa: From the Loss of the Colonies to African Independence,” in Colonialism and National Identity, ed. Bartella Farnetti and C. Dau Novelli (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2015), 126–44; Antonio Morone, “Somali Independence and Its Political Connections with Nasser’s Egypt,” in The Horn of Africa since the 1960s: Local and International Politics Intertwined, ed. Ylonen Aleksi and Jan Zahorik (Basingstoke: Routledge, 2017), 109– Also see Francesco Tamborini, “The United Nations, the Italian Decolonization and the 1949 Bevin-Sforza Plan: A Victory for Neo-Colonialism?” and Alessia Tortolli, “The Trust Territory of Somaliland, 1950–1960: Trusteeship or Colony?” in The United Nations and Decolonization, ed. Nicole Eggers, Jessica L. Pearson, and Aurora Almada e Santos (New York: Routledge, 2020).

6. Official UN documents include meeting records of the main UN organs and their subsidiary bodies, as well as reports submitted to these forums. These published UN documents are available at “UN depository libraries” across the world. The world organization distinguishes these official UN documents from general UN publications, which may be available at regular libraries.

7. The chapter also draws on the records of the UN Technical Assistance Board (which brought together the heads of the UN specialized agencies to oversee the UN technical assistance program) at the UN archives in Geneva, as well as select personal papers of UN employees, including Ralph Bunche, director of the UN Secretariat’s Trusteeship Division, and Carter Goodrich, who led the first technical assistance mission to Libya. While the reviewed papers alone warrant follow-up in- depth individual studies, the intergovernmental discussions at the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the various subsidiary bodies with regard to the transitory period of Libya and Somaliland before independence have yet to be examined more closely. The personal papers of UN Commissioner for Libya Adrian Pelt, which are held by the United Nations archives in Geneva, provide another interesting source base. More importantly, Libyan and Somali voices, some of which were recorded in petitions and oral presentations to the Trusteeship Council, have yet to receive the scholarly attention they deserve.

8. Bills, The Libyan Arena, preface.

9. Urbano, “Imagining the Nation,” chapter 4.2.

10. See Benjamin Rivlin, The United Nations and the Italian Colonies (New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1950), 2. Rivlin worked for the State Department during the war and then for the UN Trusteeship Department in the 1940s. In 1950, he taught Political Science at Brooklyn College. His book on the Italian colonies was based on his 1949 Harvard dissertation on the topic.

11. Rivlin suggests that the Italian colonies were also an issue in the 1948 American Rivlin, The United Nations and the Italian Colonies, 2.

12. For the case of Somaliland, Annalisa Urbano suggests that the major concern of the commission was not so much to investigate local aspirations as to establish the extent of opposition to a restoration of Italian rule. Urbano, “Imagining the Nation,” 94–95; for an examination of the work of the Commission, see Bills, The Libyan Arena.

13. Bills, The Libyan Arena, 111.

14. Though submitted to the General Assembly in September 1948, examination of the matter was deferred until the second part of the Assembly’s third session in April and May of 1949. Rivlin, The United Nations and the Italian Colonies, 14.

15. Kelly, Cold War in the Desert, 116.

16. Awni S. al-Ani suggests that the Haitian delegate, who decided to vote against his government’s directives at the very last moment, was decisive for the rejection of the Bevin-Sforza plan. Al-Ani, “Libyen, Tochter der UNO,” 104–5. Also see Cindy Ewing, “‘With a Minimum of Bitterness’: Decolonization, the Arab-Asian Group and Postcolonial Internationalism at the United Nations” (forthcoming).

17. The fullest, albeit dated, account is given in Rivlin, The United Nations and the Italian Colonies; more recent accounts include Kelly, Cold War in the Desert, chapter 5; al- Ani, “Libyen, Tochter der UNO.”

18. General Assembly resolution, “Question of the Disposal of the Former Italian Colonies,” 21 November 1949, A/Res/289(IV).

19. Pelt received twenty-six out of fifty-six votes. The two other nominees were José Arce of Argentina, who received twenty votes, and Muhammad Zafrullah Khan of Pakistan, who received three votes. (There were three abstentions.) Adrian Pelt, Libyan Independence and the United Nations: A Case of Planned Decolonization (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1970), 111.

20. A/Res/289(IV), 21 November 1949, section A.

21. Evan Luard notes that the General Assembly decision to merge Eritrea with economic development and limited aid. This is the nature of the relationship between Somaliland and the following countries: Ethiopia —taken in total disregard of the express wishes of Eritreans for self-government or independence, with no safeguards for the maintenance of Eritrean autonomy or special economic assistance—was an easy way for UN member states to dispose of an awkward problem. Rivlin, The United Nations and the Italian Colonies; Gordon Morrell, “A Higher Stage of Imperialism? The Big Three, the UN Trusteeship Council, and the Early Cold War,” in Imperialism on Trial, ed. R. M. Douglas, Michael Callahan, and Elizabeth Bishop, 111–37 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006); Evan Luard, A History of the United Nations, vol. 2: The Age of Decolonization, 1955–1965 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989), 134–39.

22. A Jewish minority “of ancient standing” had likewise greatly decreased by emigration to Israel since 1948, from close to 35,000 people to 8,000. Some 2,000 Maltese and around 500 Greeks were living in Tripoli and Benghazi. John Lindberg, A General Economic Appraisal of Libya (New York: United Nations Technical Assistance Administration, 1952), 4–5, (Hereafter Lindberg, Lindberg Report Libya.)

23. Lindberg, Lindberg Report Libya; Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, chapter 1.

24. See Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 24–30.

25. Cyrenaica had long provided the backbone of resistance to Italian rule. Relations between it and Tripolitania had been acrimonious at times, at least since the Sanusi Order of Cyrenaica had attempted to extend its power into eastern Tripolitania by force during World War I. Yet when Rome acquiesced to Cyrenaican autonomy under Idris in the aftermath of the war, some Tripolitanian leaders asked the Sanusi leader to extend his rule to Tripolitania to avoid Italian domination. Vandewalle suggests that the outward appearance of unity masked deep divisions and distrust that persisted between the two provinces. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 27–30.

26. Vandewalle suggests that the nation’s first encounter with modern statehood under Italian rule—an experience of exclusion and subjugation—contributed to a lasting Libyan nostalgia for a pre-bureaucratic, stateless society. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 3, 32–33.

27. St. John, Libya: From Colony to Revolution, chapter 5 (Kindle Position 2317).

28. British foreign secretary Anthony Eden merely promised that Cyrenaica would not come under Italian domination again. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 36.

29. The Sanusiyya or Sanusi Order was an Islamic movement established in Cyrenaica by the mid-nineteenth century, which advocated the return to a more pristine, scriptural form of religion. It rapidly built a network in the region, while its core support remained among Cyrenaican tribes. The movement established a rudimentary structure of governance—through tax collection, by providing social services, and by maintaining peace among different tribes—and a sense of identification. It met with little resistance from the Ottomans, but provided an important source of resistance to Italian rule. During World War I, the leader of the Sanusiyya, Sayyid Idris al-Sanusi, formed a tacit alliance with the British. In the brief, relatively peaceful interlude that followed the war, Italians acquiesced to the relative autonomy of the Sanusiyya in Cyrenaica, while some Tripolitanian leaders asked Idris to extend his rule to their territory to avoid Italian domination. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 18–19, 28–29, 38.

30. Several authors have claimed that a UN trusteeship would not have allowed the Western powers to maintain bases in Libya. This is not entirely accurate: as discussed in the previous chapter, the UN trusteeship system also comprised strategic trust territories, which allowed for the maintenance of military facilities and were supervised by the Security Council rather than the Trusteeship Council. However, the Soviet Union would not likely have agreed to such an arrangement for St. John, Libya: From Colony to Revolution, chapter 4, section “United Nations Decides” (Kindle Position 2141).

31. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 39.

32. A/Res/289(IV), section A, paragraph 9. Also see Pelt, Libyan Independence, 682.

33. Geoffrey Simons, Libya and the West: From Independence to Lockerbie (Oxford: Centre for Libyan Studies, 2003); St. John, Libya: From Colony to Revolution; Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya.

34. Pelt, Libyan Independence.

35. Louis, “Libya: The Creation of a Client State.”

36. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 111.

37. Andrew Cordier, the U.S. executive assistant to the secretary-general, in turn, had suggested Pelt’s name to Trygve Lie. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 111–12.

38. Contrary to standard procedure, Pelt was allowed to select his own staff and would successfully stave off budget cuts and even expand the mission staff later on. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 118, 414–16.

39. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 113–14. Royal Institute of International Affairs, The International Secretariat of the Future (London: Oxford University Press, 1944).

40. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 117.

41. Tom Power was born in 1916 and received a PhD from Columbia University in 1942. His book Jules Ferry and the Renaissance of French Imperialism was published in Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. State Department as a research specialist and became specialist for Dependent Area Affairs in 1945. He was part of the international secretariat that supported the San Francisco Conference on International Organization in 1945 and joined the permanent U.S. mission to the UN thereafter. He stayed in Libya beyond independence as the UN’s technical assistance resident representative and served in various UN posts in Geneva, Iran, Egypt, and Pakistan thereafter. For biographical information, see Pelt, Libyan Independence, 120 fn. 9; for a full staff list, see 974–75.

42. “Juridical Egyptian: Dr. Omad Loufti,” New York Times 8 November 1956: 8.

43. Power’s deputy was the Colombian diplomat Alberto González-Fernández. Next in the hierarchy came four political officers: Christopher Burney from the UK, Paul Cremona from Malta, Albert Grand from France, and Saleh Hahmoud from Egypt. Most of the initial staff appointments were made in February and March of 1950, so that the Secretariat was ready to support the Council when it convened for the first time in April. Later appointments included Jerome Pintos as deputy principal secretary for economic and social affairs, as well as the on-staff advisors Syed H. Ahmed (budget and administration), Albert J. P. L. Bel (agriculture), Johann P. Mensing (land claims), and Marc Schreiber (law). Aside from these staff members paid through the regular UN budget, Pelt was supported by numerous short-term technical assistance Pelt, Libyan Independence, 122–23.

44. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 124–26. Pelt to Lie, 2 March 1950, S-0655–0014–07, United Nations Archives and Records Management Section, New York City (hereafter UNARMS).

45. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 178–80. For short biographies of the Council representatives, see 204–6.

46. See Pelt to Power, 16 January 1950, S-0660–0002–02, UNARMS. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 124–25, 202–4.

47. Pelt to Lie, 7 January 1950, S-0655–0014–05, UNARMS. Pelt, 115–16, 125–26.

48. Pelt, Libyan Independence, chapter 4.

49. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 220. Pelt to Lie, 2 March 1950, S-0655–0014–07,

50. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 45–46.

51. Kelly, Cold War in the Desert, chapter 6.

52. With highly unequal population numbers in the three territories, the question of proportional versus equal representation was a major bone of contention throughout the negotiations. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 221.

53. Pelt, Libyan Independence, chapter 3.

54. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 48; Pelt, Libyan Independence, 723–24.

55. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 298; also see Kelly, Cold War in the Desert, chapter 6.

56. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 461, 487–89. Cairo’s role in Libya’s transformation seems well worth looking into further: its public diplomacy at the General Assembly, on the Council for Libya, and in the Arab League; its cooperation with Pakistan; its support for Tripolitanian nationalists; its press campaign against the constitution of the Libyan National Assembly; its compliant stance on the monetary issues at the Meeting of Experts convened by Pelt in early 1951; and its hands-on assistance/ influence through the dispatch of teachers (who, in Cyrenaica, according to a UN memo, were nearly all drawn from Egypt.) See “Conference with Mr. Cordier,” 26 June 1950, S-0655–0001–04, UNARMS.

57. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 610. Cable to Pelt/UN Tripoli (from Power?), 10 April 1951, S-0655–0007–0; Pelt to Lie, 12 April 1951, S-0655–0014–05, UNARMS.

58. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 611.

59. Pelt to Lie, 2 March 1950, S-0655–0014–07, UNARMS.

60. Pelt to Lie, 8 August 1950, S-0655–0014–05, UNARMS.

61. Secretary-General private meeting, 8 October 1950, David Owen papers (hereafter DO), Box 10, Folder 3, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York City (hereafter RBML).

62. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 217–19, 397–99.

63. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 413–14, 899.

64. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 399, 415.

65. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 399–401. Power wrote to Goodrich in July 1950 that the WHO experts’ visit was “more coincidental than in answer to our request.” Public health never became a central concern for the UN mission in Tripoli, even though an early UN memo noted that Italian doctors would likely “pull out” of Libya in 1951, and that their absence would present a serious problem, even though the people “were accustomed” to few health services. Power to Goodrich, 8 July 1950, S-0655–0001– 04; “Conference with Cordier” by Dean, 26 June 1950, S-0655–0001–04, UNARMS.

66. Pelt to Lie, 8 August 1950, S-0655–0014–05, UNARMS; Pelt, Libyan Independence,

67. “Conference with Mr. Cordier” by Dean, 26 June 1950, S-0655–0001–04, UNARMS.

68. “Missions Coordination Committee,” Special Meeting held on 23 May to consider technical assistance needs of Libyan Mission, Carter Goodrich papers (hereafter CG), B44, F11, RBML.

69. “Reflexiones sobre el Provenir Economico de Bolivia,” speech given by Goodrich at Bolivia’s First National Sociology Congress, 14 July 1952, CG, B42, F6, “Bolivia Mission History,” RBML. With regard to his academic publication, see, g., Government promotion of American canals and railroads, 1800–1890 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960). For his ILO work, see Daniel Maul, Human Rights, Development and Decolonization: The International Labor Organization, 1940–70 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 52.

70. Owen to Goodrich, 6 July 1950, CG, B44, F13; “Report of the UN Preparatory Mission on Technical Assistance to Libya,” 24 August 1950, CG, B44, F11; Goodrich to Thorp, no date, CG, B44, F12, RBML.

71. Though Pelt does not specify the names of the Libyan interlocutors of the UN mission in his book, they are listed in Goodrich’s report. Pelt, Libyan Independence, “Report of the UN Preparatory Mission on Technical Assistance to Libya,” 24 August 1950, CG, B44, F11, RBML.

72. The IMF expert G. Blowers, for example, found his interviews with local officials generally “not particularly helpful.” Blowers to Pelt, 16 October 1950, S-0655–0006– 09, UNARMS.

73. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 405.

74. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 406.

75. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 410. For a similar effect of World Bank survey missions to British East Africa ten years later, see Aldwin Roes, “World Bank Survey Missions and the Politics of Decolonization in British East Africa, 1957–1963,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 42, no. 1 (2009): 1–28. For Sudanese policymakers’ struggles with the question of what it might mean to administer a sovereign postcolonial economy, see Alden Young, Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

76. “Report of the UN Preparatory Mission on Technical Assistance to Libya,” 24 August 1950, CG, B44, F11, RBML. Also see Pelt, Libyan Independence, 399, 668.

77. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 441.

78. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 441.

79. Pelt to Broadley, 4 September 1950, and Broadley to Pelt, 13 September 1950, S-0655–0002–04, UNARMS. For UN “administrative assistance” in Bolivia, see next

80. Dean to Goodrich, 18 September 1950, Memo by Myrdal, 25 August 1950; Dean to Goodrich, 31 August 1950; Goodrich to Owen, 4 September 1950, CG, B44, F10,

81. “Report of the UN Preparatory Mission on Technical Assistance to Libya,” 24 August 1950, CG, B44, F11, RBML.

82. Goodrich to Dean, 28 September 1950, and Goodrich to Dean 24 October 1950, CG, B44, F10, RBML.

83. Pelt had appealed to the British and French authorities to request a UN developmental survey of Libya as early as March 1950. Pelt, Libyan Independence,

84. Power to Goodrich, 30 March 1951, S-0655–0001–05, UNARMS.

85. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 411–13.

86. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 668. Power to Goodrich, 30 March 1951, S-0655–0001–05, UNARMS.

87. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 408. A February UN memo similarly noted that members of the Council preferred simple, concrete projects to a general ambitious development “Minutes of the Meeting of Technical Assistance to Libya” No. 2, 1 February 1951, S-0655–0002–01, UNARMS.

88. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 407.

89. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 412.

90. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 408–9.

91. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 869.

92. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 413.

93. For biographical information on Lindberg, see Pelt, Libyan Independence, 664n4.

94. Dean to Goodrich, 5 July 1951, CG, B44, F11, RBML. For Lindberg’s role in Bolivia, see chapter 4.

95. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 674; Lindberg, Lindberg Report Libya.

96. Libyan Higgins to Rice, 16 August 1951, S-0655–0001–12; Higgins to Fried, 16 October 1951, S-0655–0002–03, UNARMS.

97. After Lindberg gravely criticized an early draft of their report on Libya’s balance of payments in January, the IMF experts delayed sharing their balance of payments study until April 1951. Lindberg to Pelt, 29 January 1951 and 1 February 1951, S-0655-0002-02; Lindberg to Keenleyside, 5 March 1951, S-0655–0001–09; Lindberg to Pintos, 13 Mar 1951, S-0655-0001-01; Lindberg to Pintos, 21 March 1951, S-0655-0002-02; Lindberg to Keenleyside, 1 April 1951, S-0655–0001–09; Lindberg to Pintos, 18 April 1951, S-0655-0002-02, UNARMS.

98. Ten years later, London would similarly try to prevent international judgments regarding its monetary arrangements in East Africa. Roes, “World Bank Survey ” For the establishment of a Sudanese national currency and its relation to the Sterling Bloc, see Alden Young, “A Currency for Sudan: The Sudanese National Economy and Postcolonial Development,” in The Development Century: A Global History, ed. Stephen Macekura and Erez Manela (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 130–49.

99. For a list of pros and cons as summarized by Pelt, see “Suggested Opening Remarks by the Commissioner for Meeting of Experts on Libyan Financial, Monetary and Development Problems,” second session, Geneva, 20 April 1951, S-0655–0007–01,

100. Lindberg to Pelt, 1 February 1951, S-0655–0002–02, UNARMS.

101. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 747, fn.33. Pelt to Bey, 19 August 1950, S-0655–0006– 09, UNARMS.

102. Both Blowers and McLeod subsequently worked for the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, while McLeod would become governor of the Central Bank of Guyana. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 687. Pelt to Bey, 19 August 1950, S-0655–0006–09,

103. See Power to Pelt, 8 September 1950; Blowers to Pelt, 16 October 1950; Blowers to Lie, 21 November 1950, S-0655–0006–09, UNARMS.

104. Blowers and McLeod to Pelt, 31 October 1950; Blowers to Lie, 21 November 1950, S-0655–0006–09, UNARMS.

105. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 873.

106. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 355, 683, 873–75.

107. Lindberg’s successor Benjamin Higgins later agreed that the Blowers-McLeod report should have received much further criticism before being circulated and suggested that his own team had prepared greatly improved balance-of-payments Higgins did not think that the proposed monetary system would create problems “from a technical point of view.” Lindberg to Pelt, 29 January 1951; Lindberg to Pelt, 1 February 1951, S-0655-0002-02; Lindberg to Pelt, 22 June 1951, S-0655–0002–02; Higgins to Keenleyside, 11 August 1951, S-0655–0001–12. For McLeod’s position on the Sterling area question and Lindberg’s report, see: McLeod to Power, 7 August 1951, S-0655–0001–12, UNARMS.

108. Lindberg to Keenleyside, 8 June 1951, S-0655-0001-09. Also see 0655–0007–01,

109. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 702–4.

110. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 702–3, 706.

111. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 702–3.

112. Pelt also noted that the arguments for and against membership in the Sterling area were parallel in many ways to those for and against imperial preferences and customs union: “Members of the group contend that they are applying the principles of multilateralism as far as they can in practice, whereas non-members complain that the members are discriminating against them.” See “Suggested Opening Remarks by the Commissioner,” second session, Geneva 20 April 1951, S-0655–0007–01,

113. Pelt writes that, although it was initially not referred to as “rent,” a tie between foreign financial assistance and base rights did, of course, exist. Pelt, Libyan Independence,

114. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 702–4. For criticisms in the General Assembly, see chapter 11. Also see Secret Memorandum of Conversation, Stewart, Power, McLeod, 18 April 1951, S-0655–0007–01, UNARMS.

115. For initial disagreements, see Pelt, Libyan Independence, 702–4; Louis, “Libya: The Creation of a Client State”; Kelly, Cold War in the Desert, chapter 6.

116. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 712.

117. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 713.

118. Louis, “Libya: The Creation of a Client State,” 179–80; also see Kelly, Cold War in the Desert, chapter 6.

119. Delegates of the Tripolitanian National Congress accused British authorities of expelling their advisor, Dr. Shoukri. Memo Regarding the Lindberg Report Presented on Behalf of the Tripolitanian National Congress, 18 August 1951, S-0655–0001–02,

120. Kirkor to Lindberg, 24 July 1951, S-0655-0001–09; McLeod to Power, 17 August 1951, S-0655-0001–12, UNARMS.

121. Power to Goodrich, 31 July 1951, S-0655–0001–05, UNARMS; Dean to Goodrich, 5 July 1951, CG, B44, F11, RBML.

122. Power to Lie, 14 October 1951, S-0655–0001–11, UNARMS; Pelt, Libyan Independence, 674.

123. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 676. Regardless of the somber economic outlook, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East began exploring the possibilities of large-scale resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Libya around the same time. See Keen to Power, 25 July 1951, S-0655–0009–15,

124. For Italian faith in agricultural improvement, see Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 32.

125. Lindberg, Lindberg Report Libya.

126. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 681.

127. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 672.

128. MacDonald to Power, 20 September 1951, S-0655–0001–07, UNARMS. From 1959 to 1967, Higgins served as a professor of economics at the University of Texas, then became head of Department of Economics at the University of Montreal. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 664–65; David Webster, “Development Advisors in a Time of Cold War and Decolonization: The United Nations Technical Assistance Administration, 1950– 59,” Journal of Global History 6, no. 2 (2011): 249–72.

129. Higgins to Keenleyside, 17 October 1951, S-0655–0001–01, UNARMS.

130. Minutes of Inter-Departmental Meeting to Discuss Technical Assistance to Libya, 19 September 1950, S-0655–0001–01, UNARMS.

131. Health Report for Libya for the Time of March–June 1951, S-0655–0001–10,

132. Technical Assistance Mission in Libya: Monthly Progress Report, July 1951, S-0655– 0001–09, UNARMS.

133. Power to Martínez-Cabañas, 16 March 1951, S-0655–0001–09; Kirkor to Higgins, 10 December 1951, S-0655–0001–13, UNARMS.

134. Health Report for Libya for the Time of March, June 1951, S-0655-0001-10,

135. Health Report for Libya for the Time of March, June 1951, S-0655-0001-10,

136. Memo on Relations with Officials and Private Individuals in Libya for Guidance of Technical Assistance Personnel, 19 September 1951, S-0655–0001–07; Power to Wheatley, 30 June 1951, S-0655-0001-09, UNARMS.

137. Higgins to Keenleyside, 11 August 1951, S-0655–0001–12, UNARMS.

138. As noted above, Pelt considered it vitally important “to associate” Libyan leaders as closely as possible with the UN technical assistance work from early on, as did Pelt, Libyan Independence, 688. Lindberg to Power, 19 March 1951, S-0655–0001–01, UNARMS.

139. Benjamin Higgins, The Economic and Social Development of Libya (New York: United Nations Technical Assistance Administration, 1953). See also “Libya: Economic and Social Development: Extracts from Report of Chief Economist, Technical Assistance Commission Dr. Benjamin Higgins, Part VIII: Conclusions, Goals Scope and Nature of the Plan” (TAB/INF/R.94, 18 January 1952), GX 26/14, Box 2597, Jacket 7, United Nations Archives at Geneva (hereafter UNOG).

140. For example, Walt Whitman Rostow noted, “Marx was a city boy,” whereas Americans understood that the path to modernity ran through the countryside. See David Engerman and Corinna Unger, “Introduction: Towards a Global History of Modernization,” Diplomatic History 33, no. 3 (2009): 383.

141. Higgins, Higgins Report Libya.

142. For a similar emphasis on the show effect of the so-called “miracle rice” during the Green Revolution, see Nick Cullather, “Miracles of Modernization: The Green Revolution and the Apotheosis of Technology,” DIPH Diplomatic History 28, no. 2 (2004): 227–54.

143. Higgins, Higgins Report Libya.

144. For a similar dynamic in postcolonial Tanzania and Zambia, see Priya Lal, “Decolonization and the Gendered Politics of Developmental Labor in Southeastern Africa,” in The Development Century: A Global History, ed. Stephen Macekura and Erez Manela (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 173–96.

145. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 679.

146. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 407. Cable by Ali Jerbi to the Prime Minister of Cyrenaica, 29 November 1950, S-0655–0011–15, UNARMS.

147. Higgins, Higgins Report Libya.

148. Health Report for Libya for the Time of March, June 1951, S-0655–0001–10; “Subsistence Allowances for Technical Assistance Experts in Libya,” 12 June 1951, S- 0655–0011–10, UNARMS.

149. The service was established by an agreement among the U.S., the UK, and France on 15 June 1951. Power to Goodrich, 30 March 1951, S-0655–0001–05; Power to UN European Office, 16 August 1951, S-0655–0011–10, UNARMS.

150. Higgins, Higgins Report Libya.

151. Power to Lie, 31 December 1951, S-0655–0001–13, UNARMS.

152. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 695.

153. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 696, 700–1. In World without Want (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), 107, Paul G. Hoffmann writes that several bilateral programs in Libya, particularly the American one, were larger than the UN one. For Libyan wishes for UN technical assistance after independence, and specifically the appointment of a UN technical assistance resident representative, see Pelt to Owen, 16 September 1951, S-0655–0004–04, UNARMS.

154. Hoffmann, World without Want, 107.

155. Higgins to Keenleyside, 17 October 1951, S-0655–0001–11, UNARMS. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 719–20. Both sets of statutes were revised to accommodate British

156. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 698, 858 fn.9.

157. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 701–3.

158. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 48; Pelt, Libyan Independence, 723–24.

159. “Memorandum on Relations with Officials and Private Individuals In Libya for the Guidance of Technical Assistance Personnel,” A/AC.32/TA.10, 19 September 1951, S-0655–0001–07, UNARMS.

160. See correspondence in S-0655–0009–15–18; and Power to Goodrich, 8 July 1950, S-0655–0001–04; Memo of Telephone Conversation, Adiseshiah and Power, 14 August 1950, S-0655–0010–01; Myrdal to Laugier, Owen, Pelt, Goodrich, 25 August 1950, S-0655–0001–03, UNARMS.

161. Blackley to Pelt, 9 October 1951, S-0655–0004–04; also see Higgins to Keenleyside, 11 August 1951 and Memo, 18 August 19551, S-0655–0001–12; 17 October 1951, S- 0655–0001–11, UNARMS. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 723–24.

162. In 1953, the British government secured strategic rights in a twenty-year treaty in return for paying £3,750,000 a year for economic development and budgetary For the maintenance of its military bases, the U.S. government agreed to pay the Libyan government $4,000,000 a year from 1954 to 1960, then $1,000,000 a year until 1975. Additionally, the U.S. provided Libya with military and grain supplies. Though the French wished to secure similar base rights, they were merely granted air and surface transit rights in return for the equivalent of $U.S. 1,000,000 of development aid in 1955, because of Libyan hostility to French policies in North Africa. Kelly, Cold War in the Desert, 141–44.

163. Secretary-General private meeting, 8 May 1952, DO, B10, F5 “1952,” RBML.

164. Secretary-General private meeting, 8 May 1952, DO, B10, F5 “1952,” RBML. For French and British fears of Libya’s setting a precedent, see Louis, “Libya: The Creation of a Client State.”

165. Secretary-General private meeting, 8 May 1952. 166. Secretary-General private meeting, 8 May 1952.

167. Gilbert Ware, “Somalia: From Trust Territory to Nation, 1950–1960,” Phylon 26, no. 2 (1965): 173–85.

168. Hoffmann, World without Want, 108; for Hoffmann’s role at the UN, see Craig Murphy, The United Nations Development Programme: A Better Way? (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 62.

169. Pelt, Libyan Independence, 875.