424. Telegram 1782 From the Embassy in Jamaica to the Department of State1 2

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For: Asst Sec Meyer from Ambassador


  • Sleep Well Charlie

1. Big Hugh really delivered yesterday in a fiery three-hour speech in the Jamaican House of Representatives which, while labeled as a budget speech, covered all facets of Shearer’s stewardship of Jamaica. Items of interest to you which should add in a small way to your hopes for a quiet vacation were a strong public statement thanking the President of the United States for living up to his commitment in the Bernbaum affair, et. al, and the distinct pro-American flavor of this portion of the speech.

2. Turning to the tranquilizer which Shearer referred to as mining, he stated in no uncertain terms, while slamming the table, that Jamaica was going to retain its reputation for responsible relationship with foreign investors. He said he wished to continue the policy that would favor the inflow of foreign capital. Shearer stated that the Jamaican Government would attempt to derive maximum intelligent repeat intelligent revenues from the bauxite companies, with a heavy emphasis on increased alumina production, that would be fair and equitable to all concerned.

3. The last is of great importance, for Shearer announced to the public that he would not tolerate harassment [Page 2] of the companies, excessive wage demands, strikes, the example of a blanket industry that was created here in Jamaica to sell in Canada. By the time the great Jamaican efficiency had finished with the process the blanket cost more than the blanket produced in Montreal. I consider the forgoing to be of paramount importance, as he has obviously gone a step further in realization that Jamaica is in fact competing in an open world market for the final distribution of bauxite and its products.

4. Further, at no time did Shearer mention any form of participation, etc., but rather emphasized over and over again the role of Jamaica would be to see revenues solely through taxation, wages, royalties and the like.

5. Comment: It is my opinion, and has been for a long time, that Hugh Lawson Shearer does not want to go into the mining business at this time in Jamaica for good and proper reasons which have been pointed out to him repeatedly by everyone concerned, including yourself. I further consider this speech to be a major policy position for the whole country to know. He does not plan at the present time to embark on a program of nationalization, expropriation, call-it-what-you-like, though events in Guyana will still have an important effect on the trend of events here.

6. Have a good vacation.

De Roulet
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL JAM. Confidential. In telegram 134034 to Kingston, the Department replied: “We are heartened by the general views expressed by Shearer regarding the United States, and by his constructive stand on the question of foreign investment. It is particularly encouraging that he does not regard Guyana as an inevitable model for Jamaica.” (Ibid.)
  2. The Embassy reported that in a speech before the Jamaican Parliament, Prime Minister Shearer stated that the Jamaican Government planned to maintain good relations with foreign investors and discouraged harassment of foreign bauxite companies. The Embassy concluded that Shearer had no plans to nationalize the bauxite industry.