430. Memorandum of Conversation1 2

[Page 1]


  • Jamaican-American Relations (Part 2 of 2)


  • Foreign

    • Sir Egerton R. Richardson—Ambassador of Jamaica
  • United States

    • The Secretary
    • Mr. John R. Burke—Director, Office of Caribbean Affairs

During the course of a farewell call on the Secretary, Sir Egerton Richardson, retiring Jamaican Ambassador to Washington, took the occasion to note that a new government had come to power in Jamaica as a result of the elections held last spring. He said that his recall was not necessarily related to this change of government and that he would be returning to Kingston to serve the new Manley regime in an important capacity. He wished the Secretary to know that the new Jamaican government was coming to power with a mandate for change and under some pressure from radical elements within Jamaica. His government might, therefore, over the course of the next several months, move in certain directions which would be wrongly interpreted by certain superficial observers as a move to the left.

Ambassador Richardson said that the gap between the developed and the developing nations of the world was growing ever larger and that the Manley government would be obliged to take certain actions in an attempt to narrow this discrepancy or at least lessen its impact on the Jamaican people. His government was determined that in its foreign relations Jamaica should stand on “its own two feet” and that its domestic policies be designed to give equal opportunity to the individual Jamaican. Without being precise, Sir Egerton asked that the Secretary view developments within Jamaica sympathetically and with forbearance, and that he critically examine any alarming reports that [Page 2] might come to his attention that Jamaica is pursuing policies inimical to U.S. interests.

The Secretary agreed that there were important material differences between nations as indeed there were between individuals but their correction might best be achieved on a cooperative basis rather than by unilateral action. He noted that in the U.S. in the past there had been important material differences between classes but through the years by an enlightened tax structure and broadening of economic opportunity for the individual many of these inequities had been redressed.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL JAM–US. Confidential. Drafted by Burke (ARA/CAR). The meeting took place in the Secretary’s office. In telegram 3104 from Kingston, November 1, the Embassy reported that the Jamaican Government had launched a “massive campaign” to refute claims that it was leading the nation to the far left. (Ibid., POL 12 JAM)
  2. Secretary of State Rogers met with outgoing Jamaican Ambassador Richardson, who indicated that the new Jamaican Government was under pressure from radical elements. Richardson voiced the concern that as the new government sought to take actions to narrow economic disparities, those actions might be misinterpreted as a move to the left.