297. Action Memorandum From the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Luers) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Habib)1

Request by Prime Minister Gairy of Grenada for Appointments with President Carter and Secretary Vance

The Problem

Prime Minister Gairy of Grenada will visit New York and Washington January 24–29 and has requested appointments with President Carter and Secretary Vance on January 26 or 28.

Background

Gairy will be here to attend a Congressional Prayer Breakfast at the White House January 27 and to confer with OAS officials regarding the OAS General Assembly scheduled to be held in Grenada this spring.

Gairy is irresponsible and sometimes irrational. (He has been referred to by other Caribbean leaders as the Idi Amin of the Caribbean.) He is in the habit of demanding that foreign leaders provide economic assistance for his impoverished mini-state. He made such a pitch to President Ford at a chance meeting at the UN, and he attempted to see the President again at last year’s Prayer Breakfast.2 He subsequently castigated the U.S. in general and President Ford by name for not providing “promised” assistance.3

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Recommendation:

I propose to handle this by seeing Gairy myself. We have met before, and I can explain to Gairy that the President’s and the Secretary’s schedules do not permit a meeting at this time.4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770021–2326. Confidential. Drafted by Thyden in ARA/CAR. Ortiz initialed the memorandum on January 25 and wrote, “Oral instructions to ARA.”
  2. Luers may be referring to a U.S. Senate “prayer meeting” that Gairy attended on January 29, 1976. (Telegram 118 from Bridgetown, January 22, 1976; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D760024–1045)
  3. On October 7, 1976, Gairy made controversial comments about Ford at the United Nations. Gairy labeled Ford a “liar and a cheat” for not following through on a supposed aid commitment. (Telegram 4346 from USUN, October 11, 1976; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D760382–0938)
  4. Habib wrote “Discussed with Heavner in ARA” under the approve option. On January 25, during Gairy’s visit, he again attacked former President Ford in an “unpleasant incident at OAS lunch.” On January 28, he “had long meeting with Acting Assistant Secretary Luers, and he apparently left Washington mollified if not totally satisfied by that conversation,” despite receiving “no, repeat no, commitments [on aid] from USG.“ (Telegram 22981 to Bridgetown, February 2; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770036–0600)