130. Operations Plan Prepared by the Operations Coordinating Board1



Free World orientation of The West Indies including (a) cooperation with the United States in world affairs, (b) economic development conducive to the maintenance of political stability, pro-Western orientation and free democratic institutions, (c) cooperation with the Free World defense efforts, and (d) preservation of freedom from Communist influence.
Orderly progress of The West Indies toward independence and subsequent maintenance of a stable and democratic government.
U.S. access to such military rights and facilities as may be required by U.S. national security interests.

General Guidance

All U.S. actions with respect to The West Indies should be taken in light of its importance to the U.S. This will be the first new nation in the Latin American area since 1903. Because of its Afro-Asian background, its population may be tempted to support Afro-Asian interests. Nonetheless, with the democratic political tradition developed under the British, the federation could become an example of stable democracy in an area which sorely needs such an example. The strategic location of the islands has caused the United States to establish on them certain military installations which contribute to the [Page 445] air and sea defenses of the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. economic interests in the federation are sizeable and the federation is a source of bauxite and petroleum.
Both before and after independence, the United States should, to the extent feasible, rely on the U.K. to support The West Indies in recognition of acknowledged U.K. responsibilities and to influence The West Indies to support U.S. objectives. In this connection, we should urge the U.K. to continue economic support of The West Indies. In addition, the United States should solicit actions by Canada in The West Indies favorable to our objectives.
However, U.S. actions with regard to The West Indies should be formulated in full consideration of increasing close relations with the U.S., and the respective interests of each. At the same time, the U.S. should avoid assuming a posture that would encourage the West Indian populations to transfer their expectations of major economic assistance from the U.K. to the U.S.
The U.S. should assist the U.K. in the insulation of The West Indies from international conflicts in the Caribbean and should attempt to counteract any Communist attempts to infiltrate the federation, if they appear.
The U.S. should keep in mind that U.S. actions and attitudes with respect to racial frictions and rights, especially in Africa and in the U.S. itself, are closely observed by the predominantly Negro population of The West Indies.
As in most nations moving toward independence, there exist in The West Indies nationalistic leaders who, for various reasons, tend to use the U.S. as scapegoat for their own problems. Foremost, among these at present is Dr. Eric Williams, Premier of Trinidad. The U.S. is particularly vulnerable because of its Bases on West Indian soil. The U.S. should recognize that fulminations by nationalist leaders are frequent concomitants of the emergence of independent nations and should avoid being provoked into actions which would strengthen the hands of such leaders and should avoid as much as possible directing U.S. policy or tactics to individuals rather than to basic problems. Nevertheless, the U.S. should use such means as would not constitute interference in the domestic affairs of The West Indies, both to encourage moderation on the part of present leaders and to encourage the assumption of leadership by other more moderate and responsible individuals. To a large extent this may be accomplished by the United States increasing its dealings where possible through the Federal Government structure in preference to working with the unit territories.
The U.S. should foster the creation of a favorable climate for the development of private enterprise, both domestic and foreign, expansion of West Indian trade with the United States and other Free World nations, increased flow of U.S. private investment capital, and access to sources of important materials.

[Here follow the section of the Plan concerning Operational Guidance and a Financial Annex.]

  1. Source: Department of State, S/S–OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, West Indies—Documents. Secret. A cover sheet, statement on the “Purpose and Use of the Operations Plan,” and an undated transmittal memorandum signed by Bromley Smith are not printed. The memorandum indicated that the OCB revised and concurred in the Operations Plan at its meeting on June 15, the minutes for which were approved on June 22.

    The Operations Plan was prepared by the OCB Working Group on the West Indies, chaired by Rockwood H. Foster, Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs. In addition to the Department of State, the Working Group was comprised of representatives from the Departments of Defense, the Treasury, CIA, ICA, USIA, and the OCB Staff.

  2. The West Indies consists of ten island territories: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Christopher-Nevis and Anguilla, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent. This new federation officially came into existence on January 3, 1958. Best current estimate for full independence is late 1961. [Footnote in the source text.]