338. Telegram From the Embassy in Suriname to the Department of State1

1291. Paris for USEC. Subj: Ambassador Todman’s Visit to Surinam—Caribbean Cooperation.

1. In meetings with Assistant Secretary Todman Nov 30, both President Ferrier and Prime Minister Arron expressed interest in Caribbean development initiative but seemed unsure about form and degree of Surinam participation. Arron said that they were thinking of having Ambassador Karamat represent Surinam at December 14–15 meeting. It would be difficult in any event, he said, to send a Minister since new Parliament meets on December 15 and it is hoped that a new government can be presented on that day.

2. Arron said that Surinam was in a somewhat ambiguous position, being physically located on the mainland of South America but with long-standing ties to Holland and ethnic/cultural links with the Caribbean states. An appropriate foreign policy for newly-independent Surinam was still being defined. In regard to the Caribbean, he noted that Surinam, because of its colonial past, produced many of the same products as the other states. Moreover, the English-speaking countries tended to stick together in international forums. Surinam for example had been isolated on occasion in EC institutions. A further consideration was Surinam’s “special relationship” with Brazil and growing ties with Venezuela.

3. Comment: While Surinam clearly intends to be represented at the December conference, its participation will be low-key and it may still opt for observer status in the Caribbean group itself. Local Dutch development officials have informed us that they are under instruction to urge Surinam to participate in Caribbean initiative.2

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770446–0005. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated for information to Georgetown, Kingston, Port of Spain, Bridgetown, Brasilia, Caracas, Nassau, Port au Prince, Santo Domingo, Ottawa, London, Paris, Belize.
  2. The World Bank’s Conference on Caribbean Development was held from December 14 to 15 (see Document 354). Although the Dutch pressed Suriname to participate, the Surinamese delegation was present only as observers. (Telegram 301445 to Western European and Caribbean capitals, December 17; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770471–0328)