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401. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in British Guiana 1

For Carlson from Shullaw.

We believe it would be helpful if you were to talk with Burnham soonest while he is considering composition of the cabinet and make the following points.

We were gratified by the election outcome for in our view it provides a basis on which B.G. can move forward toward independence without the danger of communist domination.
We were pleased by the report from our Consul General that in his view a PNC/UF coalition appeared certain.2 We think this is of vital importance as a means of maintaining the broadest possible support for the new government. We do not hold any brief for any specified United Force representation, that is, we hold no brief for including DʼAguiar himself in the cabinet. The important thing is UF representation.
We were pleased to hear that Burnham was studying ways to include East Indians in the government. We have heard that he is considering Rai for an important appointive position to head a commission and we think this is a wise move. We also think there would be much merit in having an East Indian Attorney General and perhaps this could be achieved with Ramsahoye by changing the constitution so that the Attorney General would not be a member of the government.
We would not be opposed to Burnham trying to bring one or two moderate PPP Indians into his cabinet but in this connection it must be clearly understood that the United States would not be able to provide assistance for a government which involved a PPP/PNC coalition of any kind or which included Jagan or his henchmen. We assume that Burnham will be on guard against approaches by Jagan to get the nose of his camel under the tent.

For your information in our talks in London we will take position that election outcome is advantageous our joint interests. While we are [Page 895]disappointed at showing of JP, GUMP, etc., we do not think idea of alternative EIP3 should be dropped. We anticipate that UK may seek our support for a PPP/PNC coalition but we will resist this appeal. Our position is that new government without Jagan should be given chance demonstrate capacity and work for racial harmony and this best achieved by not including PPP members who provoked racial strife for their own ends. We plan to counsel Burnham toward moderation and assist him where possible.4 To include Jagan and PPP in a coalition would probably lead to strife and jeopardize this assistance.

  1. Source: Department of State,INR/IL Historical Files, British Guiana Chronological File, 1964. Secret. Repeated to London.
  2. In telegram 193 from Georgetown, December 10, Carlson reported that Burnham had admitted to him that the United Front commanded much of the managerial talent in the country, “which new administration would need.” Burnhamʼs main concern was the “means to overcome what he called ‘Jaganism.’” Carlson reported that Burnham “urged desirability of early independence and appealed to me to persuade the USG to use its influence to that end,” and that Burnham said that he did not want to be “hampered” by British “fair play” and that “if we do not down this ‘ogre Jagan’ before too long we will never be able to do so.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 14 BR GU)
  3. East Indian party.
  4. In a telegram from Georgetown to London, December 11, to the attention of Ericson for Shullaw, Carlson reported Burnhamʼs basic agreement with the U.S. advice. Carlson stressed to Burnham the importance of reaching a coalition agreement with the UF quickly; otherwise the new administration would be vulnerable to claims that it was only a minority government, “and that it would be wise to ensure that UF accepts responsibility for new government. Carlson also advised that UF participation would encourage the business community and private investors. (Department of State,INR/IL Historical Files, Carlson–Department Messages, Vol. 2, 10/2/64–12/31/64) In a telegram from Georgetown to London, December 17, to the attention of Ericson for Shullaw, Carlson reported that he had urged that UF leaders be included in the list of original cabinet appointments, after Burnham had stated that “having UF in cabinet would evolve in month or two.” (Ibid.)