254. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

1181. Eyes only Ambassador Bruce. Deptel 1165.2 Following comments supplementing letter of instructions from Secretary for talks with UK on British Guiana submitted as background for your discussion with MacLeod.

We continue have serious reservations about British assessment Jagan as set forth in London talks in April (London Despatch 1966)3 and in conversation here with Governor Grey (Memcon of April 26).4 In our view, we should keep in mind possibility Jagan is Communist-controlled sleeper” who will move to establish Castro or Communist regime upon independence. Particularly ominous is number of Communist-connected persons assigned safe constituencies by PPP and thus assured of seats in Legislative Council in August 21 election.
We believe too much attention to Jagan at this stage would serve to inflate his ego and make dealing with him more difficult. Also it would smack of insincerity.
We have deliberately refrained up to now from intimating to British we prepared to try their prescription for handling Jagan. We hope this card will serve as leverage to obtain British agreement to our action program as whole.
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] You may wish to emphasize importance [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] of current and continuing intelligence on developments in general and especially Communist activities. [1 line of source text not declassified] You may desire to play down covert political action program.
We would like to see UK maintain and if possible expand level its economic assistance. Conversely, we wish avoid British assumption US will pick up total tab. We expect to explore fitting our aid into British Guiana’s own development program and possibilities involving Canadians and others.
We concerned about possible adverse effects on Federation of West Indies of spectacular program for British Guiana. Overgenerosity and overattention to Jagan could tempt TWI imitate his tactics.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, Papers of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., British GuianaJagan. Top Secret; Niact. Drafted by Burdett; cleared by U. Alexis Johnson, INR/DDC in draft, and Johnson (S/S); and approved by Tyler.
  2. Document 253.
  3. Dated April 19. (Department of State, Central Files, 741D.00/4-1961)
  4. Not further identified.