398. Airgram From the Consulate General in British Guiana to the Department of State 1



  • Foreign Policy of Possible Burnham Administration in British Guiana

This report is intended to make a matter of record certain assurances given to me by L.F.S. Burnham, Leader of the Peopleʼs National Congress, concerning the foreign policy of a Burnham administration in an independent British Guiana. These assurances (which I conveyed orally during consultation in the Department in September) arose out of a very frank conversation in which I pointed out that while the general trend of Burnhamʼs thinking was known to us, some important foreign policy aspects were unspecified. In the ensuing discussion and in response to my questions, Burnham assured me categorically that:

He would not recognize the USSR;
He would not recognize or associate in any way with the Castro regime;
He would cut off all trade with Cuba if asked to do so, provided that the U.S. arranged an equally good market for British Guianaʼs rice;
He would join the OAS.

In a discussion of some adverse impressions among some parts of the local community about Burnham he denied any intention to permit racial considerations to decide policy, to take over the trade union movement, or to establish a dictatorial regime.

Comment: When Burnham gave these assurances he was under the impression that I was being suddenly called to Washington for consultation about the British Guiana situation, including his role here.

Delmar R. Carlson
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 1 BR GU. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London.