421. Telegram 7 From the Embassy in Jamaica to the Department of State1 2

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  • Happy New Year

1. Prime Minister Shearer, leader of the opposition Michael Manley, Minister of Trade and Industry Robert Lightbourne, Minister of Finance and Planning Edward Seua and the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, G. Arthur Brown, informed the Ambassador separately and independently that if ALCAN and Reynolds capitulated to the Government of Guyana, the internal political pressures would be such that Jamaica would be required to secure the same arrangements with the industry. The Ambassador continued with the hard line used before to no avail this time. In general the above named Jamaican officials stated that if the over-rides, taxes, assessments, etc. accruing to the Government of Guyana, as well as the all-important market for the bauxite continued as before there was absolutely no argument against 51 percent equity ownership that could be brought forward to the Jamaican people.

2. It is the Ambassador’s opinion that it would be cheap in the long run for the companies to take a hard line in Guyana.

3. Ambassador telephoned Joseph McConnell, President of Reynolds, who is the Subrosa industry spokesman in Jamaica, and informed him of these developments. McConnell stated [Page 2] vigorously that Reynolds was not repeat not going to accede to the Government of Guyana’s demands regardless of the results of the ALCAN dispute. McConnell further informed the Ambassador that he had retained John J. McCloy as Reynolds’ attorney to negotiate with Davis of ALCAN in this matter as Davis is “difficult, unreasonable and hellbent to destroy the industry.”

4. It is the Ambassador’s further opinion that the above named high Jamaican officials are anxious for Burnham to be unsuccessful in this conflict with ALCAN and are not anxious for anything to happen in Guyana that would necessitate immediate confrontation between the industry and the Government of Jamaica. For the time being at least Jamaica would prefer to stay out of the equity business.

5. Ambassador wishes he had opportunity to convey the above sentiments to Davis of ALCAN.

De Roulet
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 JAM. Confidential. Repeated to Georgetown and Port-au-Spain. In telegram 50 from Kingston, the Embassy reported that a bauxite industry principal informed the Ambassador about “the degree to which the companies were cooperating in their mutual problems here in Jamaica.” (Ibid.)
  2. The Embassy reported that in separate conversations Prime Minister Shearer, opposition leader Michael Manley, and high-ranking members of the Jamaican Government told the Ambassador that if foreign-owned bauxite companies in Guyana capitulated in negotiations with the Burnham government, then internal political pressures would force Jamaica to make similar arrangements with the bauxite industry.