197. Memorandum for Members of the Special Coordination Committee1

SUBJECT

  • Covert Action Options for Jamaica

1. INITIATIVE: This paper proposes a covert action program in Jamaica. It has been prepared by CIA as a means of countering Soviet and Cuban moves to gain control over Jamaican policies and to expand their influence in the Caribbean.

2. ISSUES FOR DECISION: The Action Options listed below have been developed to allow for contact with a leader of the political opposition party in Jamaica and to explore possible covert support to this moderate political group. The goal of this support would be to strengthen the moderate democratic elements in Jamaica in order to enable them to resist the pro-Soviet/Cuban and anti-U.S. policies of the Jamaican Government under Prime Minister Michael Manley. This support would also seek to frustrate any initiative by Manley to move towards a one-party totalitarian state. Our ultimate aim is either the political defeat of Manley and the replacement of his government with one more friendly to the U.S. and appreciative of U.S. interests, or, at a minimum, the application of enough pressure on Manley and his People’s National Party (PNP), to force moderation of their foreign policy, particularly a reversal of the trend towards closer ties with Cuba and the Soviet Union.

3. ACTION OPTIONS:

a. OPTION NO. 1: Unilateral. Establish direct confidential contact with Edward Seaga, the leader of the main opposition party, the Jamaican Labor Party (JLP) and also provide guidance, assistance and funds to the JLP in the upcoming Jamaican national election campaign. (TAB A)2

Risk: Moderate to high

Cost: [dollar amount not declassified]

b. OPTION NO. 2. Unilateral. Through the international network of covert action assets, call for retention of democratic institutions in Jamaica, condemn Manley’s close ties with the Cubans and Soviets, [Page 481]and expose Manley’s efforts to suppress political freedom and prevent free elections. (TAB B)

Risk: Low

Cost: [dollar amount not declassified]

4. COMMENT: The political posture of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Manley and his PNP has recently taken a distinct turn to the left and towards closer relations with Cuba. This was highlighted by Manley’s speech at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference in Havana on 4 September 1979,3 in which he purposefully supported the carefully orchestrated Cuban position on key international issues. Also, Manley and high-level PNP leftists recently met in Kingston with Grenada’s pro-Cuban leader Maurice Bishop. This meeting resulted in a decision by the two countries to work together to remove the most important obstacle to their growing influence in the Caribbean, the moderate Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Eric Williams. As an apparent result of Jamaican-Grenadian consultations, Bishop with the assistance and guidance of the Cubans, reportedly is now providing paramilitary training to selected activists of the extremist opposition, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), to Guyana’s Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. It would appear that the Cubans are using Manley and his Marxist supporters in the PNP to rally the University of the West Indies (UWI)-centered Caribbean radical left to work towards the installation of more leftist governments throughout the Caribbean. (TAB C provides additional comments on Manley’s policies.)

5. FINDING: It is believed that the options outlined in this memorandum require a Presidential Finding (TAB D)

6. SOURCE OF FUNDS: [1 line not declassified]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 26, Jamaica, 10–11/79. Secret.
  2. Tabs A–D are attached but not printed.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 192.