178. Memorandum of conversation, June 14, between Prime Minister Bustamante and President Kennedy and other U.S. and Jamaican officials1

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  • Jamaica


  • Sir Alexander Bustamante—Prime Minister of Jamaica
  • Donald Sangster—Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Jamaica
  • Sir Neville Ashenheim—Ambassador of Jamaica
  • The President
  • Ambassador Doherty
  • Edwin M. Martin—Assistant Secretary, ARA

There was a preliminary exchange of pleasantries in which the Prime Minister emphasized how extensively Ambassador Doherty had gotten around among the people of all types in Jamaica and had become well-acquainted everywhere. He paid quite a tribute to him in this respect.

The President handed Bustamante the letter indicating the executive branch’s endorsement of legislation to change the Jamaican quota. The Prime Minister expressed great appreciation for the letter. There was a brief discussion of how many people might come to the United States if the bars were lifted. The Prime Minister did not think the figures would be too large.

At the Prime Minister’s request, Deputy Prime Minister Sangster outlined the new Jamaican development plan. He stressed that it would require about 100 million pounds of external resources over a five year period of which the Jamaicans thought they could secure 75 million pounds on relatively hard terms from various private and public sources. However, this left a gap of 25 million pounds which was needed on a soft basis with a low interest rate and with long terms and for which they must look to the United States.

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The Prime Minister intervened to stress the importance of this and his concern that Ambassador Moscoso had expressed to him the opinion some time ago that Jamaica should be able to finance its development on essentially hard terms. The Prime Minister felt that with [Typeset Page 422] their unemployment problem and other difficulties this was just not a reasonable position.

The President asked Assistant Secretary Martin to comment. He said that the Prime Minister had seen Mr. Bell but that he did not know what Mr. Bell’s thinking on this matter was. It was true, as he had said to the Prime Minister on a recent visit to Jamaica, that almost no other country in Latin America was able to borrow on private money markets of London and New York as Jamaica with its fine financial record was able to do and, with a general shortage of resources, this was a difference of which one had to take some account.

The President said that he hoped the Prime Minister would see Mr. Moscoso and discuss this difference of view with him. It was pointed out that they would be having lunch together and would do so.

The President went on to say that he would speak to Mr. Bell and send the Prime Minister a letter on what our situation was with respect to this request.

The President asked the Prime Minister whether they had any trouble with Cubans. The Prime Minister said they had a few refugees who had come there and whom they had not been able to pass along but that they stood firm on using Jamaica as a transit point. He said they had no use for Cubans and this was no problem for him. Ambassador Doherty reaffirmed the anti-Castro and pro-United States sentiment he felt everywhere in Jamaica and particularly in the Prime Minister’s government.

  1. Jamaican quota; Jamaican development plan; Cuban refugees. Confidential. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Jamaica, 1962–63.