323. Memorandum From Guy Erb and Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • The Summits at Guadeloupe and Jamaica (U)

Our Embassy in Kingston has raised some trenchant questions about the way the Guadeloupe Summit2 will be seen by Jamaica—and we would add, by other developing countries—in the light of the fact that the President declined Manley’s invitation to a “North-South” [Page 1026]Summit in Jamaica (see Tab A).3 The Embassy clearly feels that the announcement of a four-power Summit to take place so soon after the Jamaica meeting will have an adverse effect on our bilateral ties with Jamaica and on the President’s relationship with Manley. In addition, we are concerned that, unless we take steps to alter the first impressions in Third World capitals of the Guadeloupe meeting, the four-power Summit will affect negatively international perceptions of our North-South policies. (C)

US-Jamaican relations have several aspects. Seen from one perspective, we could easily endure a worsening of relations with a small, developing island state. On the other hand, Jamaica exercises a weight in Third World forums out of proportion to its size. Although Henry Owen feels that, “We do not want to make Manley our chosen instrument for North-South dialogue,”4 we would argue that we will never be able to choose an entirely satisfactory interlocuter on North-South issues. The differences of perspective and real economic interests are too great between rich and poor countries for us to be entirely satisfied with anyone who emerges as a Third World spokesman. Manley, for all the drawbacks that his activism entails, does lead a democratic and progressive regime. He is, moreover, the only Caribbean leader with any prospect of competing for regional leadership with Fidel Castro, and his influence on events in the Caribbean could be substantial. Aesop’s fable of the stork-king5 should be borne in mind when we contemplate who else might come forward as a proponent of Third World interests. (C)

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Although we have made some advances on multilateral issues, namely the common fund, we are still short of final agreement in that negotiation, and we have taken a relatively hard line with regard to technology, the MTN, and specific commodity negotiations with developing countries. These factors must be added to the publicity given to shortfalls in our aid; Jack Gilligan has pointed out to the President that on present indications the Carter Administration’s aid performance will be worse than that of the Nixon/Ford years. In this context, the failure to attend the Manley Summit, an unwillingness to receive a specially designated emissary from the Summit, and the Guadeloupe meeting will have a very negative impact. Developing countries could conclude justifiably that we are backing away from the Administration’s commitment to forthcoming North-South policies, just as preparations begin for the UNCTAD V in Manila next May. (C)

We really want to stress that we view this choice as a possible turning point in the Carter Administration’s attempt to formulate a North-South policy. Rejection of a North-South Summit in favor of a “rich man’s club” in Guadeloupe and down-grading our aid levels will symbolize a significant change of policy direction. (C)

We therefore request that you reconsider the guidance you provided on Guy Erb’s memo of December 2nd regarding an emissary from the Jamaica Summit. That memo and Henry Owen’s comments are attached at Tab B.6 (C)


That you approve one of the following alternative courses of action:

(1) That we inform the Jamaicans that the President could meet an emissary chosen by participants in the Jamaica Summit, either in Washington or in Guadeloupe itself, if the participants designated either Schmidt, Callaghan, Manley, or someone else, who could travel directly from Jamaica to Guadeloupe.7

(2) That the President write a letter to Manley informing him that he will have an opportunity to speak with both Fraser and Schmidt following the Manley Summit but that he would welcome a letter from Manley on the result of North-South Summit.8

Thornton concurs.9

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 119, Summit: 8–12/78. Confidential. Sent for action. Sent through Owen, who did not initial the memorandum. A copy was sent to Hunter.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 179.
  3. Not attached. When Manley invited Carter to a North-South summit in Jamaica (see Document 319), the Embassy in Kingston argued in favor of Carter’s attendance “on the grounds that: (1) only by attending can the U.S. affect the outcome of the meeting; (2) he could use the meeting to express U.S. concern for African issues; (3) he might be able to move Manley toward a more moderate stance in the North/South dialogue; and (4) the breakdown of the Committee of the Whole requires some action to improve the atmosphere of the North/South dialogue.” (Memorandum from Tarnoff to Brzezinski, October 14; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 10, Jamaica: Prime Minister Michael Norman Manley, 5/77–12/78)
  4. Owen wrote in a December 4 note to Brzezinski that he did “not believe it would be in the President’s interest to upgrade the Manley mtg by receiving a special emissary to hear its results. We do not want to make Manley our chosen instrument for North-South dialogue.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, International Economics, Guy Erb File, Box 37, Manley (Prime Minister Michael) Summit: 7/78–1/79)
  5. Apparently a reference to an Aesop fable known as “The Frogs Who Desired a King” or “King Log and King Stork.” In this fable, Zeus grants the wish of a colony of frogs for a monarch by providing them a log as their new king. However, this monarch was insufficiently animated for the frogs’ taste. The Log King not being to their liking, Zeus gave the frogs a second monarch, a stork. The Stork King promptly set about eating its way through the frog colony.
  6. Tab B was not attached. For Owen’s comments, see footnote 4 above.
  7. Brzezinski indicated his disapproval of this recommendation.
  8. Inderfurth wrote “My suggestion” in the margin adjacent to this recommendation. Brzezinski indicated his disapproval of the recommendation.
  9. A handwritten notation next to this sentence reads: “and still leans toward Option 2.”