290. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Vaky) to Acting Secretary of State Christopher1


  • Your Meeting With Ambassador Laurence E. Mann,2 Guyanese Ambassador to the United States, at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 22

Ambassador Mann’s purpose is simply to express condolences and give assurances of his government’s desire to cooperate in the situation in Guyana.3 We do not expect him to raise any substantive issues concerning arrangements for dealing with the problems there. We would prefer to keep the discussion of these matters in Georgetown between our Embassy and the cabinet level Task Force set up by the government. However, there is one issue of substance we suggest you raise. The Government of Guyana had agreed to receive a six-man FBI team to assist in the investigation. The Team was on the way when the Government changed its mind because of a newspaper story in the U.S. about the FBI visit. Their presence, our Ambassador was told, would cause a political problem. (They have accepted the legal attache from Caracas, who was already in Georgetown.) We believe the Team could be helpful. The Deputy Attorney General called John Bushnell to stress the importance of the FBI participation. An attack on a Congressman and U.S. diplomat virtually requires the FBI to participate in the investigation. Talking points on this matter are included.

Ambassador Mann expects the call to be brief. For your background the situation reports on the crisis are attached.4

Talking Points:

—We know the burden this calamity has placed on the Government of Guyana.

—We appreciate the rapid and effective response of the government to the crisis.

—The cooperation we have received has been outstanding.

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—We intend to provide as much assistance as is needed to deal with the many problems that still face both our governments.

—Substantial progress has already been made.

—This has been due in large measure to the fine work of the Cabinet Committee under the direction of Minister of Health Hamilton Green and Prime Minister Burnham.

—One point of concern, is the need we see to have a small FBI team visit Guyana to provide assistance in some of the technical aspects of this complex criminal matter. The Government had originally approved the idea, but changed its mind.

—I still believe the team could be very useful.

—In an attack on a U.S. official or Congressman abroad the FBI routinely cooperates with police authorities of other countries.

—We have complete faith in your police, but participation of the FBI would add credibility to the conclusions of your police investigation for some sectors of the U.S. public.

—You may assure your government that the Team will go quietly about its business in cooperation with your police without attracting attention.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P780181–2414. Limited Official Use. Drafted by George E. Brown (ARA). Secretary of State Vance was in Argentina.
  2. Vaky wrote, “(known as ‛Bunny’).” Mann’s actual nickname was “Bonny.”
  3. Telegram 296138 to Georgetown, November 23, reported on the meeting. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780481–0955)
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. In telegram 302465 to Georgetown, November 30, the Department reported that a team of four forensics experts from the Department of Justice would be arriving in Guyana that day. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780480–0427)