306. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Barbados1

260538. Subject: Views of Barbadian Government Officials on the Renewal of the Lease for the U.S. Navy Facility in Barbados.

Following Intelligence Report, (TDFIR DB–315/12493–77), report class Secret—Warning Notice—Sensitive Intelligence Sources and Methods Involved Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals—Not Releasable to Contractors/Consultants—Dissemination and Extraction of Information Controlled by Originator.

[Page 759]


Source: [8 lines not declassified]

1. Henry Forde, Barbadian Minister of External Affairs, said recently [less than 1 line not declassified] that officials of the Government of Barbados (GOB) plan to use the results of the base rights negotiations for domestic politics. If the U.S. Government (USG) decides to give up its naval base in Barbados, the GOB will say that the USG refused to offer adequate compensation and will take credit for standing up to the USG and for getting rid of the foreign military base. However, GOB officials would prefer to obtain an agreement, within reasonable limits, and then GOB spokesmen will point out that the previous administration was not able to get anything for the use of the base. Another incentive for the Adams’ administration to work toward reaching an agreement with the USG over the base lease is that, if the USG does not renew the lease, opposition forces in Barbados will claim that while the Barrow administration2 did not obtain money for rental of the base, at least the base provided employment for Barbadians.

2. According to Forde, the central point of the negotiations from the GOB view deals with payment for the use of Barbadian facilities by USG personnel at the Navy base, such as the use of roads, airports, and ports. GOB officials are requesting 20 million U.S. dollars as a one-time payment for past and current use of these facilities. They believe that, since the lease is still current and under operation, this payment can not be termed as retroactive by the USG.

3. Field Dissem: None.

End quote.

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Files, Transfer Identification Number 980643000018, Folder: Bridgetown 1967–79. Secret; Roger Channel. Drafted by Pierce; cleared in INR/DDC/OIL and ARA/CAR; approved by McAfee.
  2. Errol Barrow served as Prime Minister of Barbados from 1966 to 1976. He was defeated by Adams during the 1976 national elections.