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

6918. Eyes only for Ambassador Bruce from the Secretary. President wants you to know high importance he and I attach to reaching understanding [Page 606] with UK on British Guiana. This is principal subject President intends raise with Macmillan at Birch Grove and is main reason for my talks in London with Home and Sandys.

Our fundamental position is that the UK must not leave behind in the Western Hemisphere a country with a Communist government in control. Independence of British Guiana with government led by PPP is unacceptable to US. Our objective in London is to get HMG to take effective action to remove Jagan Government prior to independence. As you know there has been long series high-level exchanges this subject. Last fall Macmillan agreed to this objective but he has now reverted to view UK should wash its hands of British Guiana by granting early independence, leaving the mess on our doorstep.

I hope you will let it be known to Alec Home and the Prime Minister that President and I intend to focus on this subject while in England. I think it most important that we involve Alec Home. This is not just a Colonial problem but one with the highest foreign policy implications.

I would welcome your thoughts on how best to convince our British friends of deadly seriousness of our concern and our determination that British Guiana shall not become independent with a Communist government.

I also ask your views on what might be done with labor leaders. George Brown while in Washington seemed to sympathize with our position, but Patrick Gordon Walker was less receptive. Would you advise frank talks with Labor leaders. If so, by whom? What we wish to avoid is Labor’s committing itself publicly to early independence to British Guiana from ignorance of true facts and in effort to needle government. This of course would make it extremely difficult for them to reverse course once they come to power.

I am looking forward to talking this whole problem over with you on June 27.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 19 BR GU. Secret. Drafted by Burdett; cleared in draft by Rusk and U. Alexis Johnson and cleared by Hilliker (S/S); and approved by Burdett.