259. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Tarnoff) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Report on US Narcotics Enforcement Activities in the Bahamas

On January 10, 1980, Prime Minister Pindling conveyed to our Charge his displeasure at alleged improprieties in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) conduct of its activities in the Bahamas.2 The following day, the Prime Minister reiterated his concerns to Ambassador Schwartz.3 On January 21, Deputy Assistant Secretary Linnemann of the Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics Matters met with DEA to review the Prime Minister’s allegations of DEA misconduct.4 Because the Prime Minister’s complaints also involved Florida State law enforcement officials, contact was made with Florida Governor Graham’s office. After consultations among DEA, the NSC, Governor Graham’s office, ARA, and INM, we decided to send Deputy Assistant Secretary Linnemann, DEA representative Pringle, and, at the suggestion of Governor Graham, his Director of Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement, Jim York, to meet with the Prime Minister and Ambassador Schwartz.

In a two-hour meeting on January 24, the Prime Minister and his chief officials raised what they perceived as problems in narcotics control cooperation: DEA using residents of the Bahamas as informants/agents without keeping the Government of the Bahamas informed; an inadequate exchange of narcotics information among DEA, Florida State officials and Bahamian enforcement officials; DEA activities in the Bahamas apparently being solely for USG purposes and not sufficiently aiding the GOB with its narcotics problem; and Florida TV and newspaper reports of alleged corruption by Bahamian officials with no response by DEA and USG officials. Ambassador Schwartz and the US delegation clarified misunderstandings of the [Page 616] Prime Minister and his staff and pledged actions to remedy shortcomings in our cooperation. The Prime Minister was pleased with the USG’s rapid response to his concerns by having sent a team to meet with him, and the meeting ended with the Prime Minister and his chief officials seemingly mollified.5 We hope a basis has been prepared for better future cooperation on narcotics control and on other bilateral issues.

Peter Tarnoff
Executive Secretary
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 5, Bahamas, 1/77–1/81. Confidential.
  2. The Embassy reported Pindling’s meeting with Shankle in telegram 72 from Nassau, January 11. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 2, Bahamas, 1/79–11/80)
  3. The Embassy reported Pindling’s meeting with Schwartz in telegram 73 from Nassau, January 11. (Ibid.)
  4. An account of the meeting, a January 22 memorandum from DEA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement Hambrick to Linnemann, is attached but not printed.
  5. In telegram 194 from Nassau, January 24, the Embassy provided an account of this meeting. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800042–0263)