351. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of State Vance1


  • Cooperation for Caribbean Development

In preparation for his meetings with Latin American and Caribbean Heads of State,2 the President decided that the United States should approach the problems of the Caribbean in a comprehensive way, working with other donor countries (possibly including the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, England, France and the Netherlands) and international financial institutions.

The approach should be directed at assisting all the island states of the Caribbean, with which we have diplomatic relations, and include Guyana, Surinam, and, at some point, perhaps Belize. Our strategy should be designed to:

—Encourage closer cooperation among donors.

—Provide a better mechanism for focusing on key problems.

—Promote closer integration among the English speaking countries.

—Encourage closer collaboration between them and non-English speaking countries in the region.

—Encourage closer cooperation between them and such countries as Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, the United States and Canada.

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The President is willing to consider an increase in the amount of our assistance to the Caribbean within the context of a burden-sharing formula involving other donor countries. Specific amounts and the bilateral-multilateral program balance should be resolved after consultations among donors and recipients.

The President favors the holding of a meeting this year of governmental and nongovernmental experts of representative countries of the area (e.g., Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Costa Rica, the United States, Canada). The meeting could be held at the World Bank under the co-sponsorship of the Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank, but no prior commitment to any particular institutional arrangement would be made. The purpose of the meeting would be two-fold: to develop a better understanding of the problems of the area, and to determine how these problems can be most effectively addressed in a cooperative and comprehensive way.

The Department of State will be responsible for directing and coordinating an inter-agency Task Force, which would include representatives from Treasury, the Special Trade Representative, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Agency for International Development, to implement these decisions and prepare monthly status reports for the President.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 5, Folder: Caribbean, Chiefs of Mission and AID Directors Meeting 1/22–24/79 in Santo Domingo, 1/79 (II). Confidential. Copies were sent to Blumenthal, Strauss, Lance, and Gilligan.
  2. Reference to the meetings scheduled to take place in Washington after the signing of the Panama Canal Treaties on September 7.