302. Telegram From the Embassy in Barbados to the Department of State1

1463. Subj: US Naval Facility in Barbados. Ref: Bridgetown 1403.2

1. At end of two-hour-long meeting with Under Secretary Habib yesterday (June 22), Minister of External Affairs Henry Forde raised question of US naval facility in Barbados. (Other subjects discussed being reported by memcon.)3 Forde observed that he—and he believed his colleagues in the Cabinet—accepted the continued operation of the facility, provided mutually acceptable terms could be agreed upon. He also said that, pending conclusion of new agreement, GOB was prepared to extend present one for periods of six months at a time.4

2. Forde pointed out, however, that GOB still believes compensation is due it for past use of base. Barbados has made significant contribution to Western defense and has been loyal friend of US, he added, and USG cannot simply dismiss its claim on basis that no action ever taken to implement promise made in 1961 to provide economic assistance and other benefits.5

3. Comment: Department will readily recognize that present GOB position is considerably more forthcoming than position stated by Forde in conversation with US negotiating team leader Heavner on May 13.6

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770225–0896. Confidential; Priority.
  2. In telegram 1403 from Bridgetown, June 16, the Embassy reported that the renewal of the lease for the U.S. naval facility in Barbados was complicated by an agreement between Barbados and Great Britain involving the transfer of land from the British Admiralty to the Government of Barbados. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770215–0364)
  3. Not found. Habib visited Bridgetown June 21–22.
  4. Negotiations for extension of the lease began on May 13. The State Department authorized the Embassy in Bridgetown to offer a one-time payment of $200,000 to the Government of Barbados as a negotiating strategy. (Telegram 109396 to Bridgetown, May 13; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770169–1039)
  5. Barbadian officials alleged that American officials had reneged on a promise made in 1961 to provide Barbados with economic aid in return for the establishment of a U.S. naval facility on the island. American officials stated that no such promise was ever made.
  6. On May 13, Forde informed Heavner that Barbadian officials had not yet decided whether “continued US military presence in Barbados is desirable.” (Telegram 1081 from Bridgetown, May 14; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770171–1236) A six-month extension of the lease was granted on July 29. (Telegram 1758 from Bridgetown, July 29; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770272–1151)