LIBYA: Aid in Time

Six months ago the West felt welcome and secure in Libya, that huge 680,000-square-mile expanse of African desert between Tunisia and Egypt. Frail old King Idris was a firm friend of the West. So was young (35), balding Prime Minister Mustafa ben Halim. In exchange for a $10.5 million annual subsidy, Libya allowed the British to maintain a major air base near Tobruk, and when Premier Nasser forced the British out of the Suez Canal, the British also moved in an armored division. So far, the U.S. has contributed $12 million in Point Four aid and for maintenance of...