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405. Memorandum From the Officer-in-Charge of British Guiana Affairs (Cobb) to the Director of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs (Shullaw)1


  • Events in British Guiana—February 5–19
The Greenwood visit was very successful from our point of view. Jagan behaved like a petulant adolescent, while Burnham and DʼAguiar made favorable impressions.2 The security situation did not [Page 900]get out of hand even though there was a marked increase in the number of troublesome incidents. Jagan is reportedly going to Leipzig to get bloc funds but whether his line of credit with the bloc is still good remains to be seen.
Reynolds metals signed on February 16 a 25-year contract with the government. It will double production to 600,000 tons annually and Reynolds has paid $500,000 in advance income taxes. Total taxation bauxite industry will be 50% of profits this year according to DʼAguiar.
Rice is still our number one problem. An American rice broker arrives in British Guiana February 22 to try to arrange a sale with Peru but the Rice Market Board may not do business since it seems to insist on a premium price. Puerto Ricoʼs Governor is seeking ways to help out also. An American rice growing specialist will go to British Guiana in March.
Burnham told Carlson he had asked Police Commissioner to give us a list of the equipment needed to modernize police force. We sent a message stressing that we could provide no equipment until we conducted a public safety survey and that we would not conduct a survey unless HMG requests it.3 I doubt we should be in the police business so long as the UK is in BG.4
In response to a request from DʼAguiar for financial advice we indicated we could send on a short visit an FSR and a FSO who might be helpful.
HMG is not amused by public reference to JOHN Carter as next BG Ambassador to the U.S. and asks us to discourage same.
To get the AID program going we need to buy road machinery in a hurry. Gordon Chase is checking with Defense to see if they have stocks which we might tap (the Navy Department told us it does not have) and AID has been asked to assemble the machinery and trucks as quickly as possible but it looks as if we will have a 90-day delay which isnʼt good.
100,000 pounds of dried milk was shipped from Panama in early February and this should keep the glasses filled until the shipment from New Orleans arrives. Carlson has asked for a PL–480 adviser [Page 901]since the BG Red Cross wants to get out of the milk business July 1. The specialist who recently worked out a program for Jamaica will be available to go down in late March or early April.
At the Canadiansʼ request Harry Yoe is going to Ottawa to coordinate assistance planning for BG. I advised the U.K. Embassy.
  1. Source: Department of State,INR/IL Historical Files, British Guiana White House Meetings. Secret.
  2. In telegram 290 from Georgetown, February 15, Carlson reported a discussion with Greenwood, who agreed that Burnham had done well but thought that “sooner or later Cheddi would win an election.” Greenwood said, “I donʼt subscribe to the view, you know, that Cheddi is a Communist,” he was “in his way brilliant although rather incompetent. He then remarked: ‘On the other hand, here is this other man who knows so quickly relationships, where British Guiana fits in the wider scheme of things, procedures, etc., whereas Cheddi just does not grasp those things.’” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15 BR GU)
  3. Telegram 156 to Georgetown, February 12. (Ibid., POL 23–8 BR GU)
  4. In telegram 305 from Georgetown, February 24, Carlson agreed but added that the situation was “so different from that elsewhere” that it merited special consideration and suggested supplying the police with vehicles and motorcycles after obtaining U.K. approval. (Ibid.,AID (US) BR GU)