380. Memorandum From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the Presidentʼs Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • British Guiana

I talked to Bill Burdett today about the situation in British Guiana. Bill made the following points:

The present unrest in British Guiana is still a long way from being serious. Only a few people have been hurt and the British response has been and has needed to be only a moderate one. The unrest, in part, is a sign that we are on the right track; Cheddi Jagan and/or his people are beginning to feel that they are on their way out and are stirring up trouble in the hope that they can reverse the trend. We will see more of this sort of thing over the next few months.
We should keep our eye on November. A postponement of elections might give a Labor Government in the UK an opportunity to throw a monkey wrench into our effort to get rid of Jagan.2
Our policy with respect to BG is the right one and we should stay with it. With a little luck, the events between now and November will be controllable. With a little more luck, events after November, with Jagan in opposition, will also be controllable.
There does seem to be an area where some useful work can be done. We probably can usefully do more planning with respect to the moves we will take once Jagan is gone. (I will look into this one—to see what planning has been done and what else needs to be done.)3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, British Guiana, Vol. I, Memos, 12/63–7/64. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. In a May 28 memorandum Chase reported to Bundy that he had spoken to Burdett about preparing for a Labor Party victory. Burdett advised against talking to Labor before the election, but also recommended that, if Labor won, “our Ambassador should immediately talk to the new Prime Minister.” Chase added that he would talk to Burdettʼs replacement, J. Harold Shullaw, about the need for further contingency planning with respect to a Labor victory. A marginal note in Bundyʼs handwriting next to this sentence reads “good.” (Ibid.)
  3. A marginal note in Bundyʼs handwriting next to this sentence reads: “Also contingency planning for a Labor victory in United Kingdom.”