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432. Editorial Note

Secretary of State Rusk met with Guyana Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Finance Dr. Ptolemy Reid on May 24, 1968. Dr. Reidʼs primary purpose in coming to the United States was to generate electoral support for the Peopleʼs National Congress (PNC) among Guyanese living in the United States. Reid took over as Minister of Finance from United Force leader, Peter DʼAguiar, in late September 1967, after the latterʼs resignation. Ambassador Carlson estimated that Reid [Page 950]would assume the leadership of the anti-Jagan forces in Guyana in the event of Burnhamʼs death or incapacitation. (Memorandum from Oliver to Rusk, May 23; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 GUYANA)

Reid had progressively assumed more responsibility for economic development matters in Guyana and his visit occasioned a review of the U.S. aid program in Guyana. The briefing memoranda prepared for his visit reported that the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) program in Guyana “has been progressing well with inputs of grants, loans, and PL 480 foods of roughly $10 million per year since the Burnham government took office in December 1964.” These memoranda stated that substantial improvements had been made in the main coast road, and that Morrison-Knudson was preparing to begin work on the last remaining unimproved coastal road section, around Corentyne in the eastern part of the country, financed by a $7.5 million AID loan. (Memorandum from Oliver to Rusk, May 24, Tab B—Briefing Notes; ibid.) Another AID project was the building of a 50-mile road from Atkinson Field to the previously isolated mining town of Mackenzie, begun in 1966 and finished the summer of 1968. Major improvements were made through AID funds to the international airport developed at Atkinson Field. An AID loan was also planned for Guyanaʼs rice industry, to construct drying/storage centers at a number of sites along the coastal rice growing areas, to modernize Guyanese rice mills, to establish a rice research station, and to provide technical assistance. The loan was approved in November of 1968; see Document 440.

Further information on Reid and his May 1968 U.S. visit is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 GUYANA, POL GUYANA–US, and POL 6 DR. REID.