304. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • President Carter/Prime Minister Gairy—Bilateral

PARTICIPANTS

  • GRENADA

    • Sir Eric Gairy, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Home, and External Affairs, and Minister of Information Services, Public Relations, Tourism, Lands and Surveys, and Natural Resources
  • U.S.

    • The President
    • The Secretary of State
    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • Assistant Secretary Todman
    • Ambassador Frank V. Ortiz
    • Mr. Robert Pastor, NSC

Panama Canal Treaties

The President thanked Sir Eric for his presence at the treaties signing ceremony which was a demonstration to the American people of [Page 752]the support in Latin America for this important step. The President also expressed his appreciation for Sir Eric’s support for the U.S. human rights initiatives at the meeting in Grenada of the OAS General Assembly. As the host government, Grenada’s support was particularly helpful.

O.A.S. General Assembly

Sir Eric said he wished to reciprocate by thanking the President for the support of the United States for holding the conference in Grenada. Despite doubts expressed earlier by some, the conference had been a success. The position taken by the U.S. was a key factor in this outcome.

U.S. Economic Assistance

The President advised the Prime Minister that very shortly three A.I.D. survey teams would go to Grenada. The teams hoped to work harmoniously with Grenadian officials to see what steps could be taken to assist in agriculture, public health, and education. The President said our sending the teams showed our interest in finding ways to assist Grenada, but at the same time we should not raise expectations too high.

Grenadian Needs for Assistance

Sir Eric said Grenada made no bones about being a friend of the United States. Despite this, Grenada had in the past encountered a negative response in the United States. He believes the United States should help Grenada, the smallest and the friendliest of the states in the hemisphere. Sir Eric said he wanted the United States to treat Grenada as a separate entity and not lose it in a mound of nations. Grenada wants direct assistance, not through regional entities. Although Grenada is the smallest country in the hemisphere, Sir Eric said it is a country which does not flirt with communism, nor does it try impractical socialist experiments as do other Caribbean countries. However, he said there is a small group of young Grenadians trained in foreign universities who were beginning to agitate, spread communist literature and be otherwise disruptive. However, the Grenadian people had strong religious beliefs and spiritual fortitude and thus far were immune.

Sir Eric said that God was especially good to Grenada. Each month since independence the national government had just barely been able to collect enough money to pay the salaries of government employees. Grenada has no resources; it just depends on agriculture and tourism. A good geological survey might find oil. Grenada’s infrastructural system needed considerable investment. Work is needed on roads, schools and airports. Grenada needs assistance to remain politically [Page 753]stable. After recounting the electoral history of his political party (hasn’t lost an election in 26 years), he said he was concerned with the great number of unemployed young people who might be susceptible to extremist solutions. He said there is outside support for the Marxists, either from Cuba or China. His young people need jobs. Grenada needs funds to close the door to communist penetration. The President said that he hoped the A.I.D. survey teams could recommend what steps would be most effective. The first team will leave in early October.

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO’s)

Sir Eric then alluded to a resolution he has introduced on the agenda of the U.N. General Assembly proposing an international study of UFO’s, as well as a study of psychic and other related phenomena. He asked whether the President could support the resolution. Sir Eric addressed a special congress held in Acapulco, Mexico on these matters and considers he has a mandate to attempt to clarify up to now inexplicable events. He mentioned cases of UFO sightings in Grenada.

Secretary Vance recalled that the U.S. Air Force a few years ago had issued a report on its review of reported sightings of UFO’s. He recalled that in about 5% of the documented cases no explanation could be found for the occurrences. The President requested that Ambassador Ortiz make the report available to Sir Eric if it has been declassified. Sir Eric said he thought it was important that an international study of UFO’s be made and that is what he is pressing for in his resolution. He is convinced the planet earth was not the only thing God created.

Psychic Phenomena

Sir Eric also cited his interest in having an international gathering of philosophers, scientists, theologians, and political leaders convoked to arrive at a common concept of God. He considered no subject to be more important, and noted differing concepts of God. He felt a serious effort to arrive at a consensus on the nature of God would contribute to world concord. Sir Eric also said that there was a yearning for mystical experiences. There followed a discussion of a charismatic movement in the Christian churches indicative of a widespread interest in greater spirituality.

U.S. Military Facilities

Sir Eric said that there was no U.S. military base in Grenada and he believed there should be. When asked the reason for his desire for a base, Sir Eric said that an American presence would be a good thing for Grenada which has a good location, close to the South American continent.

Sir Eric gave the President copies of his speeches, for which the President thanked him.

[Page 754]

UN General Assembly

On taking leave, Sir Eric said he hoped to see the President in New York during the U.N. General Assembly.2

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 23, Grenada, 1/77–2/79. Confidential. Drafted by Ortiz. The meeting took place at the White House.
  2. For another account of this meeting, see Ortiz, Ambassador Ortiz: Lessons From a Life of Service, p. 120.