366. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Aaron)1


  • British Assistance to the Caribbean—What They’re Doing? What More Should We Ask? (C)

Jim Thomson asked me to prepare a memo for you on what the British are doing in the Caribbean and what more we should ask of them. (C)

The British have just completed a survey of the requirements of Caribbean security forces in 14 countries and political entities. The major element of the package they are recommending is the development of a coast guard in Barbados. The team found that the development of a regional coast guard initially comprised of Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent is floundering because of funding and to a certain extent, political problems. Barbados has decided to go ahead on its own and the UK and Canada have both presented basically commercial sales packages to the Government of Barbados to begin a modest Coast Guard comprised of two patrol boats and three refurbished shrimp boats. Neither St. Lucia nor St. Vincent has the financial resources to purchase patrol boats, even if concessional financing is available, and the UK has no plans to extend grant assistance for the purchase of equipment. Legislation presently limits our ability to provide assistance to police forces of foreign countries including their coast guards. (C)

The UK said it will provide about $1.3 million in military training assistance to the Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana. Assistance to the various constabulary forces in 1979–80 will amount to about $400,000, and the survey team identified further requirements presently unfunded of about $2 million. The Canadians appear to have some budgetary flexibility and may be able to provide some funding for equipment to the police. In addition, the US may be able to provide some assistance from narcotics control funds. (C)

We should urge the British to fully fund the amounts identified by the survey team, especially in view of our legislative restrictions [Page 908] on assistance to police forces. Specifically, we would like them to fund the following additional items:

—improvement of police communications$350,000

—provision of transport to ensure mobility including offshore patrol craft for both Dominica and St. Lucia$960,000

—Intensify training of constabulary forces and provide more equipment (to improve the morale and capabilities of police forces on the smaller islands).

We, in turn, are willing to contribute training to the Barbadian Coast Guard for control and interdiction of narcotics traffic. You should also urge them to increase their contribution to the Caribbean Group.2 (C)

Phil Habib will be in London next week for talks with the British on security and the Caribbean so you may want to touch base with him to see what more we should ask for.3 (C)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron, Box 28, Latin America, 10/79. Confidential. Sent for information. Copies were sent to Thomson and Blackwill.
  2. In telegram 4799 from Bridgetown, November 19, the Embassy reported that the British had agreed to provide Barbados with an assistance package of “a patrol craft, refitting of 3 older shrimp boats, and various elements of support for the police force.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790533–0320)
  3. Telegram 257530 to London, Ottawa, and Paris, October 1, transmitted the agenda for the October 18–19 U.S.-UK-Canadian talks in London. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790449–0982)