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439. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee1


  • Support to Anti-Jagan Political Parties in Guyana: Progress Report

1. Summary

On 7 April 1967 the 303 Committee approved a proposal to support anti-Jagan political parties in Guyana in the national elections scheduled for late 1968 or early 1969. Previous progress reports on this activity were considered by the 303 Committee on 7 August 1967, 16 February 1968 and 12 July 1968.

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This report notes that the elections have been set for 16 December 1968, describes progress in the election campaigns of the Peopleʼs National Congress (PNC), led by Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and the United Force (UF), led by Peter DʼAguiar, notes the outcome of the national census and voter registration effort in Guyana and describes the problems facing Burnham stemming from his having padded the registration lists in the United Kingdom excessively in an attempt to win an outright majority in the elections. This report also notes the security implications arising from Peter DʼAguiarʼs having become aware of this padding and his efforts to counter it.

This progress report also states that somewhat under half of the funds approved for this activity for fiscal year 1969 were obligated by mid-November 1968.

[Omitted here are sections 2–6, Current Activities, Date of Elections, New Developments, Additional Pertinent Developments, including Border Problems, the MPCA, the PNCUF Coalition, and U.S.–U.K. Discussions, Security, and Coordination.]

7. Future Plans

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] will continue to provide financial support and electoral guidance to the PNC and the UF for their campaigns in Guyana and overseas. The PNC contracted with a U.S.-based motion picture company to produce newsreel films showing the progress made by the Burnham government; the first two of a projected ten films are now being shown in Georgetown and depict Burnham inspecting self-help projects in small villages and the visit of Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi to Guyana.

The United States government will continue to exert all possible influence to persuade Burnham to pursue a moderate and statesmanlike course toward the PPP and the UF with regard to the registration problem and to the objections of these parties to the electoral law. To date, however, Burnham has not responded in the manner desired to U.S. advice to avoid an overly large false registration and to U.S. urging to plan for the formation of another coalition government after the elections. He feels that his own pride, self-respect and competence as a leader are called into question when he is urged to continue his cooperation with Peter DʼAguiar, whom he hates. Racial considerations are most likely a significant ingredient in Burnhamʼs attitude. Thus we have no assurance that he will accept our guidance in this regard. Peter DʼAguiar also is an extremely difficult person to deal with and so far has rejected our attempts to persuade him to take a more moderate and flexible line toward Burnham. DʼAguiar has been in close touch with Cheddi Jagan regarding the lawsuit that each of their parties is instituting and at one point it appeared that the two parties would cooperate closely in the suits. Jagan and DʼAguiar have now agreed to [Page 964]consult and cooperate in their attacks on Burnham and the government. DʼAguiar continues to maintain a strongly anti-Communist attitude and told Jagan that he dislikes his Communist sympathies and will work with him only to obstruct any government plans for electoral chicanery. However, DʼAguiar despises Burnham passionately and has a paranoid streak in him; this combination may well induce him to take attitudes and to pursue courses of action that a better balanced man would avoid.

Of the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] approved for this activity for fiscal year 1969, a total of approximately [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] has been obligated through mid-November 1968.

8. Recommendation

It is recommended that the 303 Committee note this progress report.2

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Guyana 1969, 1970. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. In a December 18 memorandum to Bohlen, Trueheart reported that Rostow read the memorandum for the 303 Committee and asked that the other 303 Committee principals see it and note it at the next Committee meeting, but that it not be formally placed on the agenda. Trueheart added that the memorandum reported that [text not declassified], with 303 Committee approval, had contributed some [text not declassified] to the electoral campaign of the PNC and the UF. (Ibid.)