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406. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Georgetown 1

Foll for Carlson from Shullaw:

Your message2 re Greenwood visit extremely enlightening. Was apparently more productive than we had anticipated. We agree with Governor that it is important to take advantage of Greenwoodʼs good will and provide him with basis for [garble—convincing?] Labor Party that Burnham is more responsible than many Laborites have believed. You should therefore after briefing Governor on our views, pass them on to Burnham in manner you judge most likely be effective.

U.S. has heard very favorable report about Greenwoodʼs visit from HMG,3 and is aware Burnhamʼs astute statesmanship was major factor in visitʼs success.
U.S. believes that if Burnham agrees now to authorize Greenwood to establish commission to examine question of racial imbalance he will in effect speed up setting date for constitutional conference.
If Burnham drags his feet on authorizing appointment commission he will retard setting date for conference.4
While Burnham no doubt disappointed over emergency powers, he has gained far more than he realizes, and rather than be discouraged he should build on his gains. For example, securing Greenwoodʼs agreement to amendment constitution to permit appointment Ramphal as Attorney General is master stroke and real achievement. Tactically Burnham should play this appointment up as major step toward racial harmony and betterment relations between races. Burnham might wish announce further that he will no longer press for lifting emergency powers. Will ask new Attorney General to undertake thorough study conditions and thereafter advise the Governor, Premier and Cabinet when emergency might be lifted. This is suggested as one way getting over this hurdle and avoiding any “horse trade.”
U.S. hopes Burnham will seize this chance to make progress toward independence by in effect providing Greenwood the tools he needs to do the job, i.e., authorize Greenwood to go ahead with commission to examine racial imbalance, and work with him toward this end. We urge him to send Greenwood a message giving the authorization Greenwood requested.
  1. Source: Department of State,INR/IL Historical Files, Carlson—Department Messages [file name not declassified], Vol. 3, 1/1/65–7/6/65. Secret.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 405.
  3. A February 18 memorandum to Bundy indicated that Greenwood had been very impressed by Burnham, “commenting that he had no idea that he was a man of such stature,” while the performance of Jagan and his party was “lamentable.” Greenwood no longer believed a coalition of Jaganʼs party and Burnhamʼs party would work. Greenwood reportedly felt that if the racial imbalance question in the security forces could be resolved, then a constitutional convention to prepare the way to independence could be held. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, British Guiana, Vol. III, Memos, 12/64–11/65)
  4. In a February 25 telegram from London to Shullaw, Ericson reported that the Foreign Office insisted on cooperation from Burnham on the Commission to study racial imbalance. However much Greenwoodʼs attitude toward Burnham and Jagan had changed, Greenwood was “politically committed here to commission idea and could not sell independence conference or return of emergency powers to his Labor colleagues unless Burnham accepts commission.” (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Carlson—Department Messages [file name not declassified], Vol. 3, 1/1/65–7/6/65)