279. Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Information Cable1

TDFIR DB–315/10036–77


  • Guyana


  • [number not declassified] August 1977


  • Prime Minister Burnham’s Comments on US/Guyana Relations


  • [1 line not declassified]


  • [4 lines not declassified]

1. In discussing Ambassador Andrew Young’s recent visit to Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham told close advisors that he hopes that the Carter administration does not misunderstand Guyana and her goal of becoming a truly independent socialist state,2 as he feels other administrations had done in the past. Burnham pointed out that Guyana is in a difficult position as a non-aligned country, and consequently cannot obtain substantial aid from the Soviet Union nor the United States because Guyana is neither far left nor far right politically. Burnham emphasized that he is a socialist. Which does not mean automatic alignment with other socialist states, a point which the US Government (USG) does not understand. Burnham explained that as far as the USG is concerned, renewed good relations depend not only upon the will of President Carter and Ambassador Young, but to a great degree upon the attitudes of the US Congress and public opinion. He commented that these two considerations could be the overriding factor in maintaining good bilateral relations with the US.

2. Talking about past relations with the US, Burnham commented that he feels that the USG has never properly analyzed Guyana’s political and economic situation, nor Guyana’s leader (referring to himself). As a result, Guyana has been treated as a socialist/Communist state, much like the Soviet Union. Burnham said that following the Young [Page 678] visit, he hopes the Carter administration now understands Guyana’s position and her determination not to become a satellite of any major power. Burnham commented that he clearly will not be any trouble for the US nor harm US interests.

3. Field Dissem: [1 line not declassified]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 24, Folder: Guyana, 1/77–12/78. Secret; Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals; Not Releasable to Contractor or Contractor/Consultants.
  2. The Embassy reported on Young’s August 9–10 visit to Guyana in telegram 1849 from Georgetown, August 12 and telegram 1995 from Georgetown, August 23. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770291–0540 and D770304–0905)