411. Report Prepared by the Governor of New York (Rockefeller)1 2

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[Omitted here are 180 pages of material unrelated to Jamaica.]

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The Prime Minister said the Jamaicans are very pleased to have been recently admitted to the Organization of American States while being allowed to retain their contacts with Cuba.

This dual relationship is unique. All other OAS members broke relations with Cuba.

I asked the Prime Minister about his contacts with Cuba. He said they were entirely at a consular level, that they have no formal relations with Cuba and do not allow Jamaicans to go there except for research, sports and cultural events. They maintain consular relations because the Jamaican colony in Cuba is a substantial one, existing since 1919, he declared.

A. Subversive Activities

However, the Prime Minister did say that they have subversive elements in Jamaica that go to Cuba via Mexico. Subversion is not on a large scale, but it is growing. They can keep people from coming into Jamaica, [Page 3] but they can’t keep the Jamaicans from going to Mexico or other areas and from there to Cuba for training.

Some of Jamaica’s subversive element among the students went to Cornell University to see how the disturbances there were carried out, particularly in relation to the black objectives, the Prime Minister said.

Student Communists are constantly passing through Jamaica on tourist visas to keep Jamaica’s subversive elements in touch and to bring them propaganda and money, he continued. Propaganda used in Jamaica, as in relation to our trip, is identical to Communist propaganda appearing in other Western Hemisphere countries.

In view of all this, the government of Jamaica would appreciate greatly some assistance in two areas:

(1) Equipment to support their internal security efforts, including devices to detect explosives and other dangerous items being brought into the country.

(2) Four Cessna aircraft and two helicopters—for it is very important that he be able to get around the country, into the hills, to be seen in order to preserve his authority, he said.

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The Prime Minister also said he would appreciate help in setting up a program to train Jamaicans for jobs and immigration to the U.S.

B. Student Demonstrations

Prior to our arrival, he said Jamaican students had gone on a rampage, upsetting cars and burning buses. They said they were going to prevent our Presidential mission from coming into the country. The Prime Minister went on the air and told the country that the students had the right to protest—but he had the right and the responsibility to protect the people from harassments and embarrassments growing out of their protests. To accomplish this, he confined the students to their campuses under military police guard during our visit.

C. Relations with the British

Sugar, rum and bananas provide the largest share of employment and foreign exchange for Jamaica—and Britain takes most of these exports. Jamaica is seeking special non-European status with the Common Market so that Jamaica can retain its pleasant relations with the [Page 5] British after they join the Common Market. The Prime Minister has already visited with the heads of State in Europe to accomplish this objective.

D. Bauxite

Jamaica’s biggest asset and biggest problem is the bauxite industry, which employs 8,000 people.

Six large international companies are now exporting alumina from Jamaica. This is processed ore, on which they pay a normal tax based on their profits—which in turn relates to cost.

The United States Internal Revenue Service has established this cost on the basis of a $15 per ton price being paid by the United States government in 1957–61, when it was buying alumina for stockpiling.

Now, Internal Revenue is reviewing this cost price for the period between 1962 and 1969. As yet, this has not been established as a base for the United States tax on company earnings. The problem is that all of these companies have paid their taxes to Jamaica through 1969 on the basis of the $15 cost. If the Internal Revenue should reduce this to $10.50 to $11, as is rumored, it would result in the companies’ paying a [Page 6] larger tax in the United States and a smaller tax in Jamaica. The net effect would be that the Jamaican government would have to refund part of the taxes the companies have already paid between 1962 and 1969 on the $15 basis. Obviously, the Prime Minister said, this would be a political impossibility for the government of Jamaica.

The only reason the U.S. Treasury would change the $15 to the $10.50 to $11 per ton price is to get more money for United States revenues. The U.S. would be doing this at Jamaica’s expense, abrogating a contract signed in good faith by the companies and the Jamaican government, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister added that if a controversy over this tax developed as a result of the anticipated Treasury ruling, he fears there will be public clamor for government ownership of the bauxite production.

At the present time there is a special exemption for bauxite in Jamaican law so partnership with local capital is not required. Thus all of the bauxite operations of the six companies are currently handled through [Page 7] a 100 percent holding in foreign corporations.

The Prime Minister’s solution is to get at least a portion of the alumina process into aluminum ingots on the island. They are now discussing with Standard Oil of New Jersey the possibility of developing low cost power on the island by using cheap Venezuelan crude oil as a source of energy. They think they can develop 5-mill power, in which case they think that at least two of the aluminum companies are ready to enter into a contract for smelting.

E. Caribbean Development Bank

The Prime Minister said a United States equity position in the Caribbean Development Bank would be the most significant move the United States could make to evidence its interest and concern for the Caribbean area.

Britain and Canada have both agreed to take a $10 million equity position, plus guaranteeing funds for loans. To date, the United States had indicated it would guarantee funds but not take an equity position.

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F. Haiti

The Prime Minister of Jamaica said he was deeply concerned about the Haitian political future. If “Papa Doc” moves out or dies, the people of Haiti will turn against the United States, he predicted, because of Haiti’s tragic economic and social conditions and the fact that the United States withdrew AID in 1963. He added that most Haitian opposition groups outside the country were Communist or Cuban oriented.

Throughout the Caribbean area, the accusation is being made—and public opinion is increasingly accepting it as a fact—that the United States withheld aid from Haiti because they are blacks, he said.

The Communists are exploiting this point with great effectiveness and will do so in Haiti as soon as “Papa Doc” goes, he added.

The Prime Minister urged that you take steps immediately to try to work out with “Papa Doc” a transition government which will prevent Haiti from being taken over by Castro and the Communists.

Otherwise, in his opinion, the Communist takeover will occur without much difficulty when President Duvalier dies.

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G. Guyana

The Prime Minister stated that he was very concerned about the situation in Guyana. If the Venezuelans move to take the land in Guyana they are claiming, the result will be the overthrow of Burnham and the return of Jagan, in the opinion of Jamaica’s Prime Minister. This could very well lead to a Communist takeover in Guyana and a resulting period of chaos in the island countries. He was not sure they could withstand such a period, because of Jagan’s popularity and the close ties between the peoples of their respective countries.


The former Prime Minister said that they lost the elections of ’66 and ’67 by less than 1 percent of the vote. What he did not mention was that he had been cleverly out-maneuvered by the present Prime Minister, who used a proposal for a referendum on approval of the Federation as a propaganda springboard in the rural areas.

A. Mr. Manley Defined the Context of U.S.-Jamaican Relations in These Terms:

1. We share a genuine and total commitment to democracy and parliamentary law.

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2. The United States has become Jamaica’s major partner in investment and trade.

3. Jamaica has noted with concern what has happened in certain Latin American countries—therefore they totally oppose expropriation.

4. But they do have reservations regarding the attitudes of some United States firms, and they believe in partnership capital.

5. They also believe in a strong, viable two-party system.

6. The challenge to the Western Hemisphere is to preserve and make work the system of democracy.

7. But no outside country can save democracy—only the country itself can save democracy from within, through its own system and effort.

8. However, United States attitudes and actions can be of great assistance.

9. United States capital can complement the operations of developing peoples and countries.

10. He feels that the Opposition in Jamaica could properly keep in touch with U.S. Embassy.

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As the opposition party, Mr. Manley felt, it is not their prerogative to go into specifics, but he gave their general principles:

1. The United States can best serve the interests of the hemisphere through liberal trade policies.

2. He favors open migration and suggests that Jamaica could contract as a training center for domestic workers going to the U.S. on an organized basis.

3. He is for technical assistance and training programs but not financial assistance.

4. Let financial assistance be made through international financial institutions in which the developing country is a participant, Mr. Manley says.

5. The Food for Peace program is being used internally in Jamaica as a political aid to the party in power, he charged. Around election time, the food is given away, the marked containers removed. The United States should take steps to assure that the food is not used politically. It should be administered by bi-partisan body, he said.

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6. He is very much in favor of the Peace Corps program. The Peace Corps people are excellent ambassadors and both materially and morally, the Peace Corps has stimulated local people to serve, he said.

C. Investment and Trade As Seen by Mr. Manley

1. The balance of trade is against Jamaica.

2. United States investment in Jamaica is heavily weighted in one extractive industry—bauxite.

3. Total ownership and, therefore, policy control is in the hands of foreigners—United States nationals.

4. Jamaica would like to get in on aluminum smelting.

5. He would negotiate for modification of ownership of surface rights on some of the 400,000 acres of land which have been leased in connection with the concessions for the bauxite. As it is, the company will continue to own this land after the bauxite is gone and will use it for agriculture. The government of Jamaica should be involved in policy relating to this, Mr. Manley felt.

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[Omitted here are 4 pages of material unrelated to Jamaica.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 802, Country Files, Latin America, Latin America General, Rockefeller, Report on Conversations with Latin American Leaders, May–July 1969. Confidential; Personal.
  2. Governor Rockefeller reported on meetings with Prime Minister Shearer and opposition leader Michael Manley during his July 3–4 visit to Jamaica.