168. Airgram A–24 From the Consulate General in Belize to the Department of State1
- Price May Take Belize Question to UN
In a conversation with the Governor of Belize, H.E. Richard Posnett, on June 28, 1973, at which our desk officer was present, the Governor indicated that Premier Price might decide to take the issue of Belize to the United Nations in an effort to achieve independence with some guarantee of survival in the dispute with Guatemala.
As brief background, Premier Price has long campaigned for independence. The British refuse to give a defense guarantee along with independence, which they would happily give at any time, and they are anxious to extract themselves from the Caribbean. Premier Price would like the U.S. to do more in this respect. He knows that this is not possible, although he keeps asking. The dispute with Guatemala remains on dead center. Premier Price is, therefore, groping for any means to obtain independence without being threatened by the Guatemalans. This becomes more important in local politics, as an election is due before the end of 1974. Price evidently feels that some progress has to be made to protect his own image before the voters (although many seem content with the status quo).
According to Governor Posnett, Price is contemplating bringing the Belize issue up in the United Nations. The basis would be that Belize is being prevented from self-determination by the Guatemalans. If successful in the overall exercise, Price would hope to achieve a UN endorsement of Belizean independence which would serve to deter Guatemala from any aggressive action following independence.
Governor Posnett speculated somewhat humorously that if the UK, as a colonial power, opposed Belize in its UN efforts, Belize might obtain more support. The Premier is also supposedly considering how the OAS might be useful in the situation, but is not sanguine about [Page 481] prospects. Premier Price did not mention the subject during a courtesy call on him subsequent to the visit with the Governor.
It is emphasized that the Premier is merely “considering” this course of action and that no decision has been made.
ConGen would appreciate estimate of chances of anything useful resulting from an approach of this nature to the UN We are inclined to feel that the UN would tend to postpone coming to grips with such an issue.
Summary: During a meeting with Consulate officials, Governor Richard Posnett indicated that Belizean Premier George Price might take the issue of Belize’s independence to the United Nations to deter any potential Guatemalan aggression.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, ARA/CEN Records Relating to Belize, 1972–1975, Lot 76D139, POL 3 United Nations, B–1973. Confidential. Repeated to USUN and Guatemala City. According to telegram 2885 from Guatemala City, June 14, British Consul John Weymes told Embassy officials that Premier Price had grown impatient over Guatemalan “foot dragging” and “the lack of any action whatsoever to find eventual solution to dispute.” (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number])↩