297. Telegram From the Consulate General in Georgetown to the Department of State 1

103. Called on Jagan this morning at his request. We had hour-long meeting during which Jagan earnestly discussed general problem U.S.BG relations and means of reversing steady deterioration these relations.

Jagan said he was much concerned about the rate this deterioration and unnecessarily harmful effects this was having on both countries. As far as developments in U.S. were concerned, he reluctantly had been forced to conclusion that administration had now adopted as its policy attitude of right extremists, namely, Jagan must go. He cited as evidence Tyler testimony last March before subcommittee of Committee on Appropriations (only portions he has seen are extracts woven into news story in August issue of Thunder). Jagan said up to present he has steadfastly defended President in face of attacks by extremists in PPP, arguing that President remained true to assurances he gave Jagan in 1961, but that as politician he of course had to be responsive to vocal sections of U.S. public opinion. Now in light of Tyler testimony Jagan wonders if administration has changed its policy.

This change also having important effects in BG. Present state of U.S.BG relations is one of causes of lamentable condition BG economy and fact that our best people are leaving country.”

Sir Jock Campbell recently wrote Jagan asking if steps could not be taken to prevent wildcat strikes which were reducing sugar production. Jagan said he was obliged to reply this was aspect of BG affairs which he no longer controlled; hotheads and extremists in party no longer looked to him but acted on their own.

His real worry, Jagan said, was expressed in his press conference remarks on nuclear test ban treaty, though his remarks then had been misrepresented and he apparently had not fully put his meaning across (A-26, August 18).2 America, Jagan said, is worried about BG becoming another Cuba. Castro once in reference to BG laughingly asked if socialism had ever come about without revolution. Jagan said he had openly discussed his socialist ideals with President as well as his determination to bring this about by peaceful means. All he is asking of U.S. is understanding and assistance so that he can make BG first example of socialist state created by nonviolent means.

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Alternative to himself, Jagan said, is violence because if he were pushed aside extremists in party would take over and then U.S. would have Castroite situation it is now so strenuously seeking to avoid.

I of course made no specific reply to Jagan’s question as to what could be done to improve U.S.BG relations. I noted that when matters had deteriorated to the extent he described it was usually a long road back to more normal relations, an observation which seemed to depress him. I also briefly reviewed usual points about doubts in U.S., both public opinion and government, on his ultimate objectives, his relations with Cuba and Communist bloc. As he talked much about his socialism, I said question in mind many Americans was precisely that, whether it was his socialism or socialism controlled by another power. To this Jagan said he had once invited representatives of U.S. press and government to see for themselves who ruled BG, he was thinking of renewing this invitation.

Comment: This is third time in past 10 days that approach has been made to us about improving U.S.BG relations, third time we have had fairly reliable indication of divisions within PPP, and first time Jagan has intimated to U.S. official he might be in serious trouble in his own party. I do not believe Jagan’s calling me in for this discussion was merely a trick (which would have been fair conclusion if it had been made only by [garble]); he was as serious today as when we discussed his Washington trip in September-October 1961.

We cannot assess whether Jagan is really in real trouble with his socialist friends here and abroad, and whether this is a last ditch plea for help before more extreme members of PPP take over. We feel, however, there must be some fire behind this smoke and we believe we should not let opportunity to explore it, and possibly exploit it, slip by.

We therefore suggest that contact be made with Jagan during his stay in New York, by U.S. official fully briefed on BG situation and of sufficient rank to speak with authority. Jagan in effect has asked us to tell him what is wrong with U.S.BG relations and what should be done to improve them. We believe that we should talk to him openly and bluntly. Completely frank discussion which he has asked for at least should give us some insight into present state of PPP, which we feel will be extremely valuable for future operations here.

Melby
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 BR GU-US. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., POL BR GU-US)