183. Letter From President Carter to Jamaican Prime Minister Manley1

To Prime Minister Manley

I too am looking forward to our meeting, and I appreciated your letter of December 2 setting forth some of your ideas on the Caribbean Conference and on our meeting.2

The Conference on the Caribbean, which will be held at the World Bank on December 14 and 15, offers a unique opportunity for those of us who are interested in fostering the development of the Caribbean nations and of the region as a whole. I am sure that Jamaica will play a key role in the Conference and in the Caribbean Group, and I am pleased to learn of your ideas. Your suggestion that the Caribbean Group should recognize both national and regional development objectives is one I completely support.

The Caribbean faces the same challenge as the rest of the world: how to improve the economic system as a whole in a way that will enhance the prospects for economic development of the people and the nations in that system. As you suggest, a regional effort can succeed only if it builds on the uniqueness and the individuality of each nation.

I believe that this attempt to promote Caribbean development will capture the imagination and support of the American people. If this effort is launched successfully, it can focus attention on the problems of the area and demonstrate the willingness of many nations to cooperate toward a common goal. Under these circumstances, I am confident the American people will be prepared to make a stronger contribution to the development of the Caribbean.

I am aware of the financial and the developmental problems of your country, and we have tried to be helpful. The International Monetary Fund will be participating in the Caribbean Group, and that should be useful in assuring consideration of the balance-of-payment problems faced by Jamaica and other countries in the region. I have read with interest your description of Jamaica’s debt-servicing dilemma. I look forward to discussing this when we meet on December 16th.

Since you were so kind to share with me your ideas, permit me to reciprocate. I think the Conference has three main purposes:

[Page 449]

—to recognize the interdependence of the people and the nations which inhabit, border, and are concerned about the Caribbean;

—to ensure that these nations are represented and intend to participate in this multilateral effort;

—and to launch a Caribbean Group for Economic Cooperation and Development as described in the World Bank’s papers.

As a result of the discussions during the Conference, I hope that there will be better understanding of each nation’s programs and priorities and that we will begin to address the same questions for the region as a whole. I hope that the Caribbean Group will meet in the Spring to begin to construct a strategy which will contribute to the quality of life of all the peoples of the area.

We have much to talk about.

With best wishes,


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 25, Jamaica, 5–12/77. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 182.