171. Memorandum from Rusk to President Kennedy, May 281

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  • Visit of Premier of Jamaica

Sir Alexander Bustamante, Premier of Jamaica, will be in Washington from June 26 to 28. It is recommended that you receive him sometime during this period. He is coming at his initiative to discuss various matters of special U.S.-Jamaican interest. We are arranging for him to have talks with appropriate officials regarding the aid program for Jamaica, the Alliance for Progress, sugar, and bauxite. We are also arranging for him to be briefed on the Inter-American defense arrangement in view of his public statement favoring a defense relationship with the United States.

Sir Alexander is an aging, colorful politician who has been associated with the trade union movement and the drive for independence in Jamaica for almost half of his 78 years. In the recent general election of April 10, he defeated his cousin and traditional rival Norman Manley to become Premier of Jamaica and the man who will lead Jamaica into independence as a Commonwealth member on August 6 of this year.

The U.S. will be concerned to see that Jamaica follows a progressive, democratic course after independence. Of the British colonies in the Caribbean, Jamaica seems to be the best prepared in terms of leadership to play a responsible role in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere after independence. The future will not be without problems, however, and it is essential that the U.S. at an early stage establish a strong, friendly relationship with this new American nation.

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You will recall that last year you received Norman Manley for an hour’s interview. For the reasons specified above, it now seems in the best interests of the U.S. that you receive Sir Alexander Bustamante for a similar interview. His view of foreign policy does not differ in any substantial degree from that of his predecessor and there is every reason to hope that under his leadership a firm U.S.-Jamaican relationship can be established.

William C. Burdett, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, will be present at this interview and will be available for any preliminary briefing you may desire.

Dean Rusk
  1. Visit of Premier Bustamante of Jamaica. Confidential. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jamaica, 1961–62.