Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968 Volume XXXII, Dominican Republic; Cuba; Haiti; Guyana, Document 370
370. Editorial Note
During the Johnson administration, the U.S.
Government continued the Kennedy
administration's policy of working with the British Government to offer
encouragement and support to the pro-West leaders and political
organizations of British Guiana as that limited self-governing colony
moved toward total independence. The Special Group/303 Committee
approved approximately $2.08 million for covert action programs between
1962 and 1968 in that country.
U.S. policy included covert opposition to Cheddi Jagan, the then pro-Marxist leader of British
Guiana's East Indian population. A portion of the funds authorized by
the Special Group/303 Committee for covert action programs was used
between November 1962 and June 1963 to improve the election prospects of
the opposition political parties to the government of Jagan's People's Progressive Party. The
U.S. Government successfully urged the British to impose a system of
proportional representation in British Guiana (which favored the
anti-Jagan forces) and to
delay independence until the anti-Jagan forces could be strengthened. Through the Central
Intelligence Agency, the United States provided Forbes Burnham's and Peter D'Aguiar's political parties,
which were in opposition to Jagan, with both money and campaign expertise as they
prepared to contest the December 1964 parliamentary elections. The U.S.
Government's covert funding and technical expertise were designed to
play a decisive role in the registration of voters likely to vote
against Jagan. Burnham's and D'Aguiar's supporters were registered
in large numbers, helping to elect an anti-Jagan coalition.
Special Group/303 Committee-approved funds again were used between July
1963 and April 1964 in connection with the 1964 general strike in
British Guiana. When Jagan's and
Burnham's supporters clashed
in labor strife in the sugar plantations that year, the United States
joined with the British Government in urging Burnham not to retaliate with
violence, but rather to commit to a mediated end to the conflict. At the
same time, the United States provided training to certain of the
anti-Jagan forces to enable
them to defend themselves if attacked and to boost their morale.
Following the general strike, 303 Committee-approved funds were used to
support the election of a coalition of Burnham's People's National Congress and D'Aguiar's United Force. After
Burnham was elected Premier
in December 1964, the U.S. Government, again through the CIA, continued to provide substantial funds
to both Burnham and D'Aguiar and their parties. In 1967 and
1968, 303 Committee-approved funds were used to help the Burnham and D'Aguiar coalition contest and win the December 1968
general elections. When the U.S. Government learned that Burnham was going to use fraudulent
absentee ballots to continue in power in the 1968 elections, it advised
him against such a course of action, but did not try to stop him.