419. Paper Prepared in the Department of State1 2

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Commission to Examine Caribbean Development Needs—Background Memorandum

In the course of drawing up draft terms of reference for the commission initiated by President Nixon and Prime Minister Shearer, the Department of State has consulted with our Embassies in the Caribbean area, and with international agencies with interests in the area.

In this process, we learned that a very similar commission was being considered by the OAS/CIAP, and that consultations on this subject had taken place between Carlos Sanz de Santamaria, Chairman of CIAP, and the heads of government of various Caribbean countries. Further, our Ambassadors in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana all recommended against a Caribbean-wide commission, noting that its requirement for “special emphasis on Jamaica” could be a source of difficulty in the other countries. All Ambassadors agree, however, that the governments are interested in increasing the flow of developmental assistance to their countries.

In order to avoid duplication of effort and to permit maximum coordination, we have delayed developing our final terms of reference until CIAP had more clearly defined the nature and timing of its commission. In a meeting on September 24, the CIAP staff outlined its approach. Its commission is to be headed by W. Arthur Lewis, Raul Prebisch and Paul Rosenstein-Rodan. The problem it would address is defined as “Unemployment and Underemployment in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago”. The commission will function on the basis of a CIAP staff analysis which (a) diagnoses the problem, (b) looks at current policies and institutions affecting unemployment and (c) forecasts the short and medium run outlook. The staff analysis should be ready in final form by approximately November 1.

The commission will consult with international agencies as well as with representatives of Caribbean governments in preparing its findings and conclusions; it expects to make [Page 2] recommendations as to the role external financing agencies can play in helping to solve or ameliorate the unemployment problem. Following the strong recommendations of Sir Arthur Lewis, the commission does not plan to travel to the area but will instead invite Caribbean government representatives to come to Washington to discuss the problems under study.

Given the above approach by CIAP, and the recommendations of our Ambassadors against a U.S. Caribbean-wide mission, it seems most appropriate at this point to confine our commission to studying Jamaica’s problems. We know from Jamaican Ambassador Richardson that such an approach is consistent with Jamaica’s wishes. Furthermore, the availability of the CIAP study and its recommendations, plus other available data, will provide us with the basis for considering possible assistance to the other Caribbean countries, either bilaterally or multilaterally, consistent with our efforts toward Jamaica.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 786, Country Files, Latin America, Jamaica, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent as an enclosure to an October 5 memorandum from Under Secretary John Irwin to President Nixon. In an October 27 memorandum to Alexander Haig, Howe reported that the inter-agency commission was “expected to depart for Jamaica in late November.” (Ibid.)
  2. The Department of State reported on the activities of the inter-agency commission set up by President Nixon to examine social and economic development in the Caribbean, and recommended that the commission be sent only to Jamaica to avoid duplicating the work of a similar commission that had already been established by the OAS.