410. Airgram A–13 From the Embassy in Jamaica to the Department of State1 2

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  • Country Analysis and Strategy Paper—Jamaica, FY 1971


  • CA–12727 of December 17, 1968

I. Statement of Rationale and Basic Strategy

Jamaica will continue to be of significance to the United States

—because of its strategic location vis-a-vis the U.S., the Panama Canal, Cuba and Hispaniola.

—as the major supplier of bauxite and a growing supplier of alumina for the U.S., involving investments by U.S. companies of approximately $766 million, actual and projected.

—because of other substantial and expanding U.S. investments, particularly in hotels, aviation, petroleum refining and light manufacturing; and as a substantial and growing trading partner with the U.S. (imports from the U.S. were $137 million in 1967; exports to the U.S. were $91 million.)

—as a potential model, in the Caribbean particularly, and in the developing world generally, of a multi-racial society progressing through democratic means.

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These key U.S. interests, projected through the period of Fiscal Years 1971–1973, are listed in order of priority importance. Each of these interests warrants close and continuing U.S. attention. Together they point toward a limited number of U.S. policy and program objectives and a modest U.S. operational strategy.

It is basic U.S. strategy to insure that Jamaica will maintain a stable government, cooperative with the U.S., which will, when necessary, make its territory available for mutual security needs and, in any event, deny use of its territory to any forces hostile to the U.S.

The U.S. must also, within reason, endeavor to protect the major U.S. bauxite/alumina investment in Jamaica, because of its importance to our national security.

Finally, the U.S. should actively continue to promote investment in, and trade with, Jamaica because of the substantial and growing benefits of such investment and trade.

These U.S. purposes are more likely to be achieved if Jamaica maintains political stability, increases and spreads economic well-being, and promotes social justice and racial harmony. Since independence in 1962, Jamaica’s relations with the United States have been friendly. Its aggregate economic growth has been satisfactory and American investors and tourists have been welcomed. There is no immediate threat to the independence or stability of this island-state. The United States must be alert, however, to class and racial tensions which are rising to the surface in this multi-racial community. Like many other developing countries, Jamaica has found that development does not eliminate discontent and unrest. In some ways the very opposite may be happening in Jamaica: lopsided economic development may be exacerbating friction-creating contrasts; more education and modern communications may be providing better light to show these contrasts in sharp relief.

Major public disturbances occurred in 1968 as they had in 1966. Although these were spontaneous flare-ups which were quickly put down, the root causes which could lead to further [Page 3] civic unrest and even worse consequences remain: racial friction related to unequal economic and social status; unemployment; excessive population growth, disparate income distribution. The Government knows that in the future these conditions could again provoke urban violence, large-scale criminality and, ultimately, the risk of revolution. Such problems and their consequences warrant continuing and close attention by the Embassy so that developing threats to significant U.S. interests can be dealt with appropriately and basic U.S. objectives promoted.

The Government of Jamaica will have financial resources sufficient to mount necessary programs of economic and social development during the next few years. It will continue to have access to domestic and foreign sources of private development capital as well as to sizeable sums from international public donors. These resources, together with substantial GOJ revenues, will make it unnecessary for the U.S. Government to play a major role in financing the country’s development. Nevertheless, the U.S. Government’s assistance role, though very modest, should be an active one. Active with important limitations: not imposing programs or projects which do not stem from Jamaica’s expressed and felt wants; not pretending to be a major source of aid; remembering Jamaican pride in independence and in managing its own affairs. In support of its key interests, U.S. strategy should also, through careful diplomatic effort, encourage Jamaica to broaden its cooperation with the U.S. and to move toward cooperation with its Commonwealth Caribbean neighbors.

[Omitted here are three sections, comprising 23 pages, which are summarized above.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 1 JAM–US. Confidential; LOU attachment. Drafted on January 22 by DCM David Wilken; cleared by Arthur L. Jacobs, Charles H. Taquey, Kenneth N. Rogers, Dennis C. Goodman, Homer G. Gayne, Nancy Ostrander, Defense Attaché H. Watts, William B. Paxson, William L. Carr, and Haviland Smith, Jr; and approved by DCM Wilken. Stamped notations on the Airgram indicate that it was received at the Department of State at 1:57 p.m. on January 27, the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs on January 28, and the AN/RS Analysis Branch. Attached but not published at Enclosure 1 is a July 1968 Peace Corps Program Memorandum.
  2. In Part I of its Country Analysis and Strategy Paper for Fiscal Year 1971, the Embassy identified the significance of Jamaica to the United States.