418. Letter From Ambassador to Jamaica (de Roulet) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

[Page 1]

Dear Dr. Kissinger:

In the roughly three weeks that have elapsed since Prime Minister Shearer’s visit, much attention and thought has been given toward the process needed for the formulation of a Caribbean policy and, in truth, some thought to what the Caribbean policy should entail. Since you readily admit that there exists no U.S. Government policy toward the Caribbean and that it is important that we have one, it is not necessary to dwell on this subject.

To implement a foreign policy in the Caribbean, it is absolutely necessary that the area be treated as an entity separate and distinct from the Latin-speaking countries. Today it is lumped into a division of ARA, where it has nothing in common with countries of the people who speak Spanish or Portuguese. The mentality, emotions, culture, environment and problems have little relationship to those of Central and South America. In ARA, the senior officers are interested in the large Latin programs and understandably find little or no time to think about or deal with the problems of the Caribbean. The Deputy Assistant Secretary involved has never been to Jamaica and his interests clearly lie in Central America—Mexico. In the course of researching this problem, our Counselor of Embassy, George B. Roberts, Jr., found in one of the State Department [Page 2] task force reports a paragraph dealing with the recommendations that the English-speaking entities be divorced from their current bureaus. I enclose a copy of this study. If this concept of a new bureaucratic entity is embraced, then one must seek, and indeed find, a very hard hitting, but enlightened non-bureaucratic outsider to run this division ... to run it as a businessman on a businesslike basis for a profit. He should begin his involvement by taking his management team on a tour of the countries involved, exploring for sure, but laying the groundwork of a policy of self help, based on mutual profit.

Diplomacy as it works today in the Caribbean is simply a matter of being a good businessman for, in truth, the Ambassador is primarily in the mining, real estate, hotel or petroleum business, depending on the location of his mission. Since these countries pose very little physical threat to the well-being of the United States, the solution lies in protecting American investment and pursuing a policy of enlightening, persuading, or arm-twisting the local government into a recognition of the value of foreign capital. Hereby lies their stability and future.

The U.S. relation with the Caribbean and its importance is predicated solely on proximity and American investment. The foreign investment aspect should be continued and encouraged, but only on a businesslike basis, mutually profitable to both parties. The only salvation, if there is one, is for the leaders and the people to understand this concept. Since I have been Chief of Mission in Jamaica, Prime Minister Shearer has been under tremendous pressure from this Embassy to respect the right of foreign investment and from keeping his mouth more or less shut on this subject, by luck, lethargy, laziness, or who knows why, has attracted $80 million of private capital inflow in the first half of 1970. This statistic alone provides the basis of a foreign policy for the Caribbean.

There are specifics relating to this country and to the others that I simply don’t wish to commit to writing. Perhaps I can telephone General Haig for an appointment [Page 3] with you sometime September 24, 25 or possibly the 28th, or any time at your convenience, at which time I will be much more definitive.

It is imperative in our relationship with the Caribbean and Jamaica to get on with some beginnings of a policy and a study, but to hire or solicit unwanted and unused senior Department officials or outside so-called consultants to write a long and lengthy report, which would be evaluated more by weight than content, would achieve absolutely nothing, in fact, would be detrimental. To embark on a give-away program would mean the demise of the area with the accompanying loss of political stability and investment. Success in this program might have interesting implications and possible appeal to Haiti and Cuba.

Yours very truly,

Vincent de Roulet
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 786, Country Files, Latin America, Jamaica, Vol. I. No classification marking. Attached but not published is the enclosed extract, titled “The Proposal—An alternative bureau structure.” De Roulet sent the letter to Alexander Haig on September 4, asking him to forward it to Kissinger and observing: “The Caribbean needs a policy, the Caribbean needs a push, the Caribbean needs effective management and it will not be easy to achieve.” Haig forwarded the letter to Kissinger with a handwritten note that reads: “Some gems in attached.” Kissinger responded: “Al—Let’s hear what he has to say.” No record of a follow-up meeting or conversation has been found. (Ibid.)
  2. Ambassador de Roulet opined that U.S. policy toward the Caribbean should be separated from that of Spanish and Portuguese speaking Latin America and that a private sector profit-oriented approach be taken to developing and executing that policy.