200. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Summary of Meeting with Prime Minister Michael Manley2


  • Phillip Habib, Special Adviser to the Secretary of State
  • Andrew Young
  • Robert Pastor, Staff Member, National Security Council
  • Prime Minister Michael Manley
  • Minister of National Security Dudley Thompson
  • Ministry of Industry and Commerce Danny Williams
  • Ambassador to the United States Alfred Rattray
[Page 485]


Andrew Young explained the reasons why the US Government (USG) wanted to meet with Manley at this time.3 The USG is very concerned that perceptions between our two countries were growing farther apart, and hoped to halt any possible deterioration of our relations by exchanging concerns and increasing our understanding. Young said that unless we do, it will be increasingly difficult for the US to maintain the Caribbean policy that this Administration established at the beginning, and in which Habib, Pastor, and Young had played a large role. He said that Iran has had an interesting effect on the US, and there is an increasingly strong feeling that Americans should not get pushed around by small countries anymore. In regions close to the US, like the Caribbean, Americans are more apt to respond. Young said that our concerns with Jamaica fall into four categories: democratic institutions; working with Cuba and Soviet intelligence groups; a tilt in foreign policy; and an economy which is rapidly deteriorating. (S)

De-Stabilization and the KGB/DGI Connection

Pastor said that before getting into a discussion of current concerns, it was important to put a mischievous problem completely behind us. Although Ambassador Rattray had been told in clear and unequivocal terms by Mr. Vaky and by Mr. Pastor, that the article in the Latin America Weekly Report was erroneous and the allegations about a U.S. de-stabilization campaign were false, Pastor said that apparently the Prime Minister had not been convinced yet since he sent Rattray in again a second time.4 For Manley’s personal benefit, Pastor repeated [Page 486] that the article was wrong, and specifically three allegations in it—that Pastor had received documents from Seaga, that he passed them to others in the government and in the press, and that he started a public relations effort to de-stabilize Jamaica—are all completely false. Pastor said that he had told Rattray that the spread of this information was obviously an attempt to further divide the U.S. from Jamaica at a delicate point in our relationship, and that he ought to be very careful before he believed or repeated the allegations to others. (S)

Manley said that he accepted Mr. Pastor’s explanation and his denial, and as far as he is concerned, the matter is completely closed. Manley then asked whether the U.S. would also accept his assurances that the chart drawn up by Seaga describing 58 people in his government as collaborating with the KGB or DGI is false. Manley said he would say for the record that neither he nor the Jamaica House have been working with the KGB or DGI. Pastor said that he had never seen the document to which Manley referred. (S)

Habib said the U.S. has information on the subject of the Jamaican-KGB-DGI relationship which is independent of Seaga’s information, but which deeply distresses the USG. Habib said that the U.S. knew the names of KGB and DGI operatives who were involved in the PNP and in relations with his government, and that their work was directed not just towards influencing Jamaica but at the U.S. This clandestine operation included efforts designed to attack U.S. interests in the Caribbean and even to recruit people for the KGB to send to the U.S. to work against us there. He said that some of these activities could be unknown to the Prime Minister. (S)

The Prime Minister admitted, of course, that he might not know everything that was going on. However, he said that none of his Ministers nor the Jamaica House had any such relationship with the KGB or DGI. He said he was aware that the CIA is watching Jamaica and watching the KGB/DGI which, of course, is watching the U.S. and Jamaica. But he didn’t see any evidence that would confirm attempts by the DGI/KGB to unfairly influence Jamaican domestic politics. He was aware that the Cubans sometimes work through the left wing—Trevor Munroe’s faction—but he didn’t believe there was any evidence that the Cubans were giving any money to him or trying to interfere with the Party.5 Even among those in the Party who are of the left there is not the slightest indication that they are deliberately trying to get the party to criticize the U.S. or to take steps toward forcing Jamaica down the road toward Cuban model. (S)

[Page 487]

Habib said that we had information from the recent PNP conference in Montego Bay that the Party published documents whose purpose was to warn Jamaicans of U.S. efforts at de-stabilization. Habib said that these documents were directed at U.S. interests, and this disturbed us. Manley denied that the PNP would publish such documents. He said that while he thought the previous Administration had engaged in de-stabilization efforts, he never thought nor did he allege that the Carter Administration would do anything like that. (S)

Habib then showed him the PNP document “Psychological Warfare: What It Is—How It Works” which clearly defined de-stabilization and identified it as “a CIA technique.”6 The document quoted liberally from the CIA’s efforts to de-stabilize Chile, and it quotes from a Department of the Army pamphlet. Manley first denied this was a PNP document, saying it was obviously published by Seaga, who is brilliant at these kinds of things. Then, Danny Williams admitted that it was published by the PNP and authorized at a medium level. Manley then said that the purpose of the document was to identify Seaga’s techniques at provoking violence and undermining democracy in Jamaica. It was not intended to accuse the U.S. of anything like de-stabilization. (S)

(Comment: Manley was clearly embarrassed at having his bluff called, and was hardly convincing in his explanation that the purpose of the document was to expose the Jamaican people to Seaga’s machinations.) (S)

Habib underscored the seriousness which we viewed any actions which would give the KGB or DGI an inside track at manipulating the Jamaican political system. It is possible that agents could burrow themselves into his government and party and try to move Jamaica away from democracy during troubled times. Manley said that if the US ever had any specific evidence of this, we should bring it directly to his attention. (S)

Democracy in Jamaica

Manley said that despite Seaga’s provocations and despite the Daily Gleaner’s libelous charges which “abuse the freedom of the press,” he remains irrevocably committed to democracy. That commitment is so deep and strong that not only would he not contemplate anything that would harm democracy in Jamaica, but he would fight to prevent others from trying to harm democracy in Jamaica. As an example of his commitment to democracy, he continues to work closely with the [Page 488] opposition party to develop a fair election law. (Habib said that Seaga confirmed Manley’s cooperation on this.) (S)

Pastor expressed concern that Seaga uses the same language in characterizing the position of Manley’s PNP as Manley does in referring to Seaga and the JLP. Both claim the other is seeking confrontation, hurting the country, undermining free institutions. If this polarization continues, both sides would lose. Manley acknowledged the point, but denied his party was engaged in these tactics. Habib noted that there may be some radicals in his party who are deliberately trying to provoke the JLP in order to create increased polarization. (S)

Manley said that he was aware that some have suggested that he is obsessed with power and plans to subvert the electoral process if he cannot win a free election. Manley said that there is no truth to that. He said that he enjoys the time he spends teaching at the University, and could see himself pursuing a career teaching and writing if he lost the election. He would be quite content with such a career pattern. (S)

Jamaica’s Foreign Policy

NAM Speech. Young said that there were many in the USG who are sympathetic to Jamaica, but were disappointed with Manley’s speech in Havana.7 He thought much of that disappointment was based on misunderstanding of the speech, but some of it was due to a few controversial positions, such as on Puerto Rico. (S)

As someone who is sympathetic to Jamaica, but disappointed with the speech, Pastor said that his concern was not based on a few controversial issues, but rather on the entire thrust of the speech which placed Jamaica alongside Cuba and the Soviet Union and in opposition to the US and the West. Prime Minister Manley has the prerogative to tilt Jamaican foreign policy however he wishes, but he should not expect the US to be happy with it. The speech began by praising Lenin and the 1917 revolution and ended with a paean to Castro’s revolution. In the speech, Manley said that “no other area of the world has had a more extended exposure to, experience of, nor proximity to imperialism than Latin America and the Caribbean.” Throughout the speech, Manley laid all the ills of the developing world on the doorstep of US and Western imperialism. It is true, as Andy Young said, that we were troubled by Manley’s position on issues that are sensitive to the US, like Puerto Rico, but we were troubled even more by the issues he selected and the tone and the imbalance of the speech, which seemed so close to the Soviets and so far from the US. Why did he mention US intervention in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic and neglect [Page 489] Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, Cuban intervention in Latin America and Africa, and Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia. Indeed, last month, 91 countries endorsed the ASEAN resolution at the UN condemning Vietnamese intervention and only 21 Soviet bloc countries voted against it. If Jamaica’s stand is determined by its adherence to the principle of non-intervention, why did Jamaica abstain on that vote? Why is Jamaica silent about Soviet/Cuban intervention but loudly protests US intervention? That is why Americans are troubled by the direction of Jamaica’s foreign policy. Those are the questions we have. (S)

Moreover, Pastor continued, if Jamaica thinks that the best way to get the attention of the US is to hit us over the head, the Prime Minister might want to consider the reaction in the US to his speech and other speeches at the NAM in Havana. It was not the venue, as Manley has suggested in his press interviews, that disturbed the US; it was the tone and the substance of the speeches. As Congress considered US appropriations for bilateral aid and for the multilateral development banks, many Legislators, including Senator Tsongas, a former Peace Corps Volunteer and friend of the Third World, frequently referred to the NAM in deciding to reduce US aid by almost as much as $1 billion. This is a clear example of the counterproductive impact of the NAM. (S)

Manley said that he accepted Pastor’s points, and he now understands the reasons for our concerns, but he did not view himself or his remarks as anti-American. He said that his speech at the NAM reflected Jamaica’s desire to identify with the Third World, not with the Communist bloc. He viewed himself as a Democratic Socialist and felt more of an affinity to the British Labor Party or to German Social Democrats than to the Communists. He greatly admires the US—as he had said in his speech that evening—and when the Seabees had recently been in Jamaica, he spent a lot of time with them and thought they were “good guys.” How could he be anti-American, and give a speech like he gave in Miami. (Pastor said that Manley should not be inhibited from repeating that speech elsewhere.) Manley said that he had sought commerce and investment from Western Europe, Japan, and Eastern Europe, but that could not be interpreted as anti-American. (S)

Pastor said that, on the contrary, the Carter Administration’s approach to Latin America and the Caribbean had recognized the importance of diversifying relations (particularly with Europe and Japan) as a way to reduce the sense of dependency in the region. This was the premise of the multilateral Caribbean Group. No, what concerned Americans, was the hostile tone of Manley’s speech at the NAM and the appearance that Manley had joined the Cuban bloc. (S)

Cuba. Manley said that the problem of US policy to the Caribbean is that it is obsessed with Cuba. If the US would eliminate the threat [Page 490] of the embargo and normalize relations with Cuba, there would not be any reason to be concerned with pro-Cuban or anti-Cuban behavior. Manley admitted that he wrote the NAM speech the night before he gave it, and he wrote it when he and his colleagues in the NAM were outraged over the charges that Cuba was a surrogate of the Soviet Union and outraged that the US was making such a big issue out of Soviet troops that had been training Cuban troops for seventeen years. He said that everyone at the NAM saw that charge as a crude attempt to attack Castro, and this increased the support for him. He said he cannot understand how the US can really see Castro as a surrogate. (S)

Pastor said that there is no developing country as dependent on an industralized country as Cuba is on the Soviet Union. The USSR accounts for 25% of Cuba’s annual GNP through aid. Cuba is the only Communist country that receives military hardware and training from the Soviet Union free. The increased political and military coordination and cooperation is a consequence of that dependence. We do not think that the Cubans merely march to Soviet instructions, but there is no way that the Cubans could keep over 40,000 troops in 15 countries, embassies in 100 countries, technical assistants in several score—there is no way Cuba could do this if the Soviets believed that the Cubans were not serving their interests. The Cubans may think that they are following their own revolutionary imperative, and they may be right, but they are also serving Soviet interests, and they are subverting democracy, and we view that as antithetical to US interests. (S)

Manley asked why we were so concerned about Cuban involvement in Africa, and so unconcerned about French intervention. Pastor drew the distinction between French troops who came and went, and Cubans who stayed. Habib then argued the differences between the two cases with Manley and Andy Young with no agreement reached. (S)

Pastor and Habib discussed US attempts to normalize relations with Cuba at the beginning of the Carter Administration, and explained the reasons why it was not successful. Cuban intervention in Ehtiopia was the first serious obstacle. Manley himself admitted that he couldn’t understand why the Cubans got involved in Ethiopia, nor was he ever really interested in that (Andy concurred), and he always suspected that the Soviets pulled the Cubans in for geopolitical reasons (“the Horn”) whereas he thinks the Cubans dragged the Soviets into Angola for reasons related to national liberation. (S)

Caribbean. Manley said that he felt Carter’s policy to the Caribbean was clear and understanding of basic currents in the region until the October 1 speech.8 He wondered whether the US would continue to [Page 491] accept ideological pluralism, for example. Pastor alluded to the President’s strong statement about his commitment to democracy in the region; the most important factor for US policy is free elections and a free press, not the philosophy of political groups. That is why we were so concerned with the March 13 coup in Grenada—the interruption of the democratic process.9 Pastor asked for Manley’s views about Grenada. (S)

Grenada. Manley said that he thought the coup occurred because Bishop and his allies had evidence that Gairy was about to arrest them. The coup was preemptive. Manley was in touch with Bishop and his colleagues a good deal at the beginning, and they were very fearful that Gairy would launch an attack using Cuban mercenaries. Bishop therefore immediately asked for assistance from all quarters, and the Cubans were the quickest to respond. Manley is convinced that Castro was dragged into Grenada; he had no plan, nor any intention of getting involved at the beginning. (Habib and Pastor disputed this, pointing out that Cuban military advisers were there before Bishop even asked for U.S. assistance.) Manley said that when Ortiz mentioned his concern about the Cubans, Bishop saw this as intervening in their right to establish a relationship with Cuba, and protested. (S)

Manley said that he no longer followed developments in Grenada closely, but he feared that relations between the U.S. and Grenada had become very strained. Habib pointed out that the Grenadians have become complete sycophants of the Cubans in all international fora. Moreover, the closing of the Torchlight and the arrest of 70 opposition leaders greatly concerned the U.S. Manley said that he viewed Grenada’s leaders as young, idealistic kids. He said that they had asked him for assistance to apply to the Socialist International; these were not closet Communists. Manley asked the U.S. what could be done at this point to improve relations. (S)

Habib and Pastor said that Manley’s initial advice to Bishop to have free elections represented the single best way to get US-Grenadian relations back on track. However, these elections would have to be completely free, with opposition parties and a free press, and perhaps also international observers, e.g., perhaps from CARICOM. Manley said that he would be “the U.S. Ambassador” to encourage progress in this direction. (S)

Cuba/Central America and the Caribbean

In concluding his thoughts on Cuba, Manley said that he retains strong personal affection and admiration for Castro; he will never [Page 492] repudiate Cuba nor turn his back on Castro. In his experience and in his discussions with Omar Torrijos, Carlos Andres Perez, and Luis Herrera Campins, he had never heard anyone suggest that Castro was trying to subvert the democratic process or interfere in their country’s internal affairs. Manley has no doubt that Castro would like to create Communist governments in his image in the area, but he has not yet seen any evidence suggesting that Castro is interfering in these governments’ affairs. (S)

Pastor explained that the reason for heightened US concern with Cuba in the last year is because Cuba has shifted its global strategy back to Central America and the Caribbean with a vengeance. Cuba has increased its assistance, training and political direction to guerrilla groups in Central America and to radical groups in the Caribbean. This has had the effect of quickening the pace of political polarization and making the prospects for democratization more precarious. That is the source of our concern with Cuba. (S)

Manley said that he could understand why Castro would exploit the opportunity he had in Nicaragua, but he thinks the US is wrong if it believes that Castro was behind the Grenada coup. (S)

Jamaica’s Economy

Manley demonstrated awareness of the deteriorating state of the Jamaican economy. He said that he felt that Jamaica was in a vise. He imposed what he views as a legitimate tax on the bauxite companies, but the companies not only protested, they have stopped investments. What is a small country like Jamaica to do in the face of a decision like that of the bauxite companies? When he talked about imperialism, he was not talking about the U.S., but of a system which permitted companies to make life and death investment decisions over small countries. That is why he has called for a new international economic order, and why he has asked the international community to regulate the practices of international firms. (S)

Manley said that he is energetically trying to attract U.S. business, but having very little success. He had a conversation with Charles Bludhorn of Gulf and Western (G&W), who may be interested in investing in Jamaica, and he was even prepared to fly to New York just to see Bludhorn when he heard about a SEC complaint against Gulf and Western. Manley asked whether he should continue to seek G&W’s investment, whether it is a reputable firm. Andy Young, as a private citizen, promised to check and get back to Manley. Manley feels that if he can attract one large investment, this will provide a psychological climate which will lead to more investment. He expressed happiness that tourism has picked up in Jamaica. (S)

Habib pointed out that investors are reluctant to invest in Jamaica because of the mixed signals they are getting from Manley and his [Page 493] government. It is not possible for the U.S. to continue to shoulder the burden of assistance to Jamaica because of inflation and budgetary concerns, and also because it is difficult to continue to make a case for such aid if Jamaica, itself, is not taking the necessary steps to reverse the economic decline. It is difficult to get support on Capitol Hill when Manley gives speeches like he did at the NAM. (S)

Manley explained the difficult problems he has had with trying to impose austerity in Jamaica in accordance with the IMF guidelines. Nonetheless, he is determined to do that, but he needs some help. He said that the new IMF Director for Jamaica, Albertelli, understands Jamaica’s problems, but needs support within the IMF to convince his seniors of the need to seek more gradual adjustments in the Jamaican economy. Manley asked whether it would be possible to stretch out the demands being put on the Jamaican economy by December over the next six months. Habib said he would look into that. (S)

Andy Young described his trip to Africa with American businessmen and the heads of government agencies like the Export-Import Bank. They were able to consummate several billion dollars worth of business. Manley asked Young if he could be helpful in a similar way with Jamaica, and Young said that he would. (S)


Habib summarized by saying that we were pleased by the PM’s assurances about democratic institutions and about his desire to encourage private investment and to steer the economy back on the right track. We are also encouraged by the PM’s assurance that his Government is not collaborating with the KGB or DGI in any way which could be considered directed at U.S. interests or towards undermining democracy in Jamaica. However, Habib noted that “one swallow does not a summer make.” Because of our deep interest in Jamaica, the U.S. intends to continue to closely watch developments in Jamaica over the next six months in order to determine the kind of relationship we will be able to have. (S)

Prime Minister Manley said that he appreciated the exchange with government officials and found it very useful. He said that he enjoyed his rapport with Ambassador Lawrence, who he thought was a very good representative from the US. (S)

Habib said that the US Government has the fullest confidence in Ambassador Lawrence, and we were pleased by Manley’s remarks. A decision was made to have three representatives come from Washington to convey the views of the highest levels of our government on the state of our relations with Jamaica. That was the purpose of this conversation. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 40, Jamaica, 1/77–10/79 through Japan, 6–12/78. Secret. Drafted by Pastor; cleared by Habib. The meeting was held in Manley’s suite at the Hotel Intercontinental. Manley was in Miami to attend the Caribbean Conference on Trade and Development. Manley’s memoirs also contain an account of this meeting. He recounted that Habib attempted to embarrass him by revealing a PNP pamphlet that supposedly alleged that the United States was conducting a destabilization campaign in Jamaica. Manley stated that Pastor then brought up the issue of Jamaican support of Cuba and Grenada. Manley responded by reaffirming his friendship with President Carter, urging the United States to normalize relations with Cuba, and lobbying the U.S. delegation to leave the New Jewel Movement alone. Manley wrote, “I was sure the discussion had accomplished nothing.” (Manley, Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery, pp. 175–179)
  2. The PRC discussed sending a mission to Manley at its November 13 meeting (see Document 370), and President Carter approved the mission on November 27. (Memorandum from Brzezinski to Vance, November 27; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 26, Jamaica, 10–11/79)
  3. Vaky and Habib suggested the possibility of using Andrew Young, who resigned as UN Ambassador on September 23, as an intermediary with Manley, since Young was sympathetic to the Prime Minister’s policies and might win the United States more credibility with the Jamaican leader. (Memorandum from Pastor to Brzezinski through Owen, November 21; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 40, Jamaica, 1/77–10/79 through Japan, 6–12/78) Carter met with Young on October 17 from 9:25 to 9:40 a.m., at which time he presumably broached the idea of Young meeting with Manley. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) See also Document 199.
  4. Pastor visited Jamaica and met with Seaga on October 16. (Memorandum from Pastor to Brzezinski, October 18; ibid.) The Daily Gleaner subsequently published a story that included a list of KGB and DGI agents inside Manley’s government; the list was given to the Gleaner by Seaga. The CIA evaluated Seaga’s assertions as accurate. (Memorandum from Sapia-Bosch to Pastor, October 29; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron, Box 23, Folder: Jamaica, 1979) The November 16 issue of Latin America Weekly Report then published a story accusing Pastor of passing intelligence to Seaga. Pastor denied the charges. (Memorandum from Pastor to Roper, November 27; ibid.) Ambassador Rattray delivered a November 27 démarche regarding the alleged leak of intelligence. The démarche was reported in telegram 308207 to Kingston, November 29. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790549–0850)
  5. Trevor Munroe was the leader of the Worker’s Party of Jamaica, a Marxist organization.
  6. Not found.
  7. See footnote 2, Document 192.
  8. Reference is to Carter’s address to the Nation about the Soviet brigade in Cuba. See footnote 2, Document 80.
  9. See Document 313.