384. Memorandum for the Record1


  • British Guiana Meeting, June 30, 1964


  • Mr. Tyler; Mr. Cobb; Mr. Helms; [2 names not declassified]; Mr. McGeorge Bundy;
  • Mr. Chase

The meeting was called at Mr. Tylerʼs request, primarily to discuss recent messages about the situation in BG.

Jaganʼs Coalition Proposal—The group agreed with the Consulate Generalʼs assessment that we should steer clear of a coalition government.2 We are on the right track and should press ahead towards the elections. If necessary, we should stiffen up Governor Luyt who has given some indications that he may be weakening on the coalition issue—i.e. the Governor is very concerned about the security situation, and may feel that a coalition will reduce the terrorism.
Jaganʼs Emissary to U.S.—While a dialogue with Jagan might conceivably cool down the BG security problem, it was decided that we should not accept a visit from a Jagan emissary.3 We would be able to get no meaningful concessions from Jagan and the fact that we talked to a Jagan emissary would probably help Jaganʼs cause. Moreover, it would be difficult to keep a dialogue going (for purposes of cooling down the security situation) since we would have very little to say to Jagan.
UN Trusteeship—The group discussed Eric Williamsʼ proposal that BG be made a UN trusteeship for five years. The group did not think this was a good idea since at best it would only delay a bad situation, and at worst might make the Communist menace even tougher to control.
The group agreed on the following actions: First, State [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] would cable Georgetown and tell our people that we agree with their assessment and are against a coalition and emissary.4 Second, State will tell Ambassador Bruce to talk to the British about the BG situation. Bruce will try to get the British to apply whatever force is necessary to control the security situation in BG.5 Third, at a somewhat lower level, the U.S. Government and HMG will get together in the near future to compare notes and insure that we are still on the same wave length.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, British Guiana, Special File. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Chase on July 2.
  2. Telegram 440 from Georgetown, dated June 27, reported Carlsonʼs concern about an abortive Canadian attempt to promote a PPPPNC coalition. (Ibid., Country File, British Guiana, Vol. I, Cables, 12/63–7/64)
  3. A telegram to London, July 2, reported that Jagan wished to send Attorney General Ramsahoye to Washington to discuss the British Guiana problem with Department officers. The Department requested that the Colonial Office have the Governor decline to transmit Jaganʼs request. (Ibid., Intelligence File, British Guiana, Special File)
  4. An undated telegram to Georgetown advised “we do not believe coalition talk should be encouraged” and “we have no intention of receiving any envoy from British Guiana for we do not wish to give Jagan any encouragement.” It also stated that Jagan should be advised that the U.S. Government was in no position to direct Burnham to accept or reject a coalition and that any question of an envoy should be taken up with the Governor, the official responsible for external affairs. (Ibid.)
  5. In an undated telegram to London for Ambassador Bruce, Tyler requested that Bruce inform the Colonial Office that “we are anxious that every effort be made to hold elections in November under proportional representation as planned,” that additional UK forces be sent to British Guiana, and that all possible steps be taken to put down further violence there. (Ibid.) A telegram from London to Tyler, July 2, reported that the Colonial Secretary, Duncan Sandys, responded that HMG intended to go forward with the elections as planned, was most reluctant to send more troops to British Guiana, and had reached no conclusion about the possibility of a coalition, but would consult with the United States before doing so. (Ibid.)