174. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to Jessica Tuchman and Robert Kimmitt of the National Security Council Staff1

SUBJECT

  • Security Assistance

1. While I agree with State that security assistance to Uruguay should be eliminated and to Argentina reduced by half, I also agree with OMB’s assessment that Congress will regard that as “tokenism”. I think the best way to reconcile the two positions, however, is not in asking State for alternatives but in asking it for a framework to justify these cuts. Since Argentina and Uruguay have two of the worst human rights records of all those Latin American nations receiving security assistance, I don’t believe it should be especially difficult to justify these as opposed to other cuts.

2. Jamaica Assistance. $31.5 million in supporting assistance will not be sufficient to realize the extravagant claims made by the State Department like relieving their economic crisis or reversing the leftward drift of the government. But some assistance from the new Administration is essential to send a new signal to Jamaica, to other Latin American and Caribbean countries, and to the international community about Jamaica and about the U.S. It will indicate a new tolerance in U.S. foreign policy for ideological pluralism which will be well-received in the Caribbean and in the developing world. (And we should remember that Jamaica has a democratic government.) The U.S. does not need $31.5 million to send a signal, however; half of that would be sufficient.

If the U.S. were interested in improving relations with Jamaica, the worst thing it could do is begin a bilateral assistance program because before too long, we would raise unrealistic expectations in the U.S. that we could transform their government at the same time that we aggravated nationalistic predispositions in Jamaica. Even worse [Page 424]would be to use the money to try to get Jamaica to accept the IMF Stabilization package because Jamaica will probably accept the package anyway and because $31.5 million is not sufficient to persuade them and would not be welcomed as a reward for “good behavior.” For the moment, then, I would recommend that the President agree to grant only enough assistance to send a signal.2 A soft loan for a new hospital in Kingston would be perfect. At the same time, he should appoint a new Ambassador and make clear that we are undertaking a comprehensive review of U.S. policy to the Caribbean.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 28, Jamaica, 2–4/77. No classification marking. Pastor forwarded the memorandum to Brzezinski on February 16 and noted, “Attached one heartless memo for the starving urchins of Kingston. Long live the Zbigniew Brzezinski Memorial Aquarium for Wetbacks!”
  2. President Carter reduced the State Department FY 1978 budget request of $31.5 million in supporting assistance for Jamaica to $10 million. (Telegram 37488/Tosec 20097 to Vance in Cairo, February 18; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770057–1050)