372. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • British Guiana


  • British Side
    • Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
    • R. A. Butler, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
    • Sir Harold Caccia, Permanent Under Secretary, The Foreign Office
    • Sir David Ormsby Gore, British Ambassador
    • Sir Timothy Bligh, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
    • Sir Burke Trend, Secretary to the Cabinet
  • U.S. Side
    • The President
    • The Secretary of State
    • Governor Harriman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
    • David K. E. Bruce, Ambassador to Great Britain
    • McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President on National Security Affairs
    • William R. Tyler, Assistant Secretary, EUR
    • Richard I. Philips, Director, P/ON
    • Willis C. Armstrong, Director, BNA

[2 lines of source text not declassified] that they were now engaged in registering parties, and he gathered that there had been some problem in the development of splinter parties. Mr. Bundy remarked that people were engaged in party cultivation, but that it was stony ground. The Secretary noted that the East Indians who donʼt like Jagan are reluctant to come forward. It was understood that party activity was being closely observed. The Secretary went on to say that it was very important not to let Jagan take over in a situation of independence. [1½ lines of source text not declassified] The Prime Minister said that at some point there would have to be an election, and he thought December might be a good time.2

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 14 BR GU. Top Secret. Drafted by Armstrong and approved in the White House on February 24 and in S on February 27. The memorandum is part V of VI. The meeting was held at the White House. Prime Minister Douglas-Home made an official visit to Washington February 12–13.
  2. In a February 27 memorandum for the record, Burdett noted that Bundy stated that the President and Prime Minister had discussed British Guiana privately during the latterʼs visit and that they had reaffirmed the agreements existing between President Kennedy and Prime Minister Macmillan, and in particular the understandings reached at Birch Grove the previous summer. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, British Guiana White House Meetings) Kennedy and Macmillan met at Birch Grove, England, on June 30, 1963, where the British proposed, and Kennedy agreed, that independence should be delayed, that a proportional representation electoral system be established, and that the alliance between the leading politicians opposed to Jagan be supported; see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XII, Document 295.