371. Summary of Conclusions of a Policy Review Committee Meeting1


  • Jamaica, Grenada, and the Caribbean (U)


  • State

    • Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher (Chairman)
    • Ambassador Viron Vaky (Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs)
    • Mr. Philip Habib (Senior Advisor to the Secretary)
  • OSD

    • Deputy Secretary W. Graham Claytor, Jr.
    • RADM Gordon J. Schuller (Director for Inter-American Region)
  • JCS

    • VADM Thor Hanson (Director, Joint Staff)
  • DCI

    • Deputy Director Frank Carlucci
    • Mr. Jack Davis (NIO for Latin America)
  • Treasury

    • Mr. Arnold Nachmanoff (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Developing Nations)
  • White House

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • Mr. David Aaron
    • Mr. Henry Owen
  • NSC

    • Mr. Robert Pastor


The Situation in Jamaica. To understand the political ambience in Jamaica, it is necessary to begin with an assessment of Prime Minister Manley, who is almost totally absorbed with his political career and his re-election. Because of the extremely difficult economic problems Jamaica will face next year and the growing strength of the opposition, the CIA estimates that the odds are Manley will choose an extra-constitutional way to remain in office, and justify it by the economic crisis and the inevitable political confrontation.2 There are increasing signs of this in his anti-Western speech at the NAM; his selection of a [Page 925] Marxist to organize his political campaign; and his expanding ties with the KGB and DGI.3 CIA believes that increased offers of economic assistance will not turn Manley around, although a sharp cutback in aid could be used by Manley to justify his attempt to consolidate power. However, on November 13, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Eric Bell met with Phil Habib and hinted that Jamaica might be prepared to adjust its foreign and domestic policies in ways which would be more agreeable to the US if we were prepared to assist Jamaica economically next year and, even more important, to support increased multilateral aid to Jamaica.4 (S)

US Policy to Jamaica. The PRC concluded that we ought to send a mission from Washington to speak to Manley and be very explicit about what we would expect from him and what we would be prepared to do in positive terms (economic/political support) if he met our expectations. We should inform Manley that our relationship is at a crossroads, and there would be major changes in US policy toward Jamaica if he should decide not to adjust his policies. We should make clear that we will be judging our relationship according to a number of “litmus tests,” including his rhetoric on issues of high sensitivity to the US, Jamaica’s adherence to the IMF agreement, efforts to restore investor confidence and avoid further radicalization, actions to reduce Soviet/Cuban intelligence activities, etc.5 The specific details of the approach and who would make it will be subject to interagency clearance. There was no agreement on whether we should threaten or consider the use of force as the dialogue unfolds. This will be considered again later.6 (S)

The Situation in Grenada. State and CIA agreed that the Government of Grenada has turned increasingly to authoritarian measures to consolidate its internal control and toward a militant, anti-Western, pro-Cuban foreign policy posture. Prime Minister Bishop has arrested two Americans for “internal security reasons” but has not brought them to trial.7 There is an intelligence report suggesting that the Grenadian [Page 926] Embassy in Washington may have assisted two Grenadians, who were awaiting trial here on gun-running charges, to flee to Grenada. The PRC concluded that the Grenada Government is “probably beyond the pale;” it has suppressed the only independent newspaper, arrested all the opposition leaders, and is headed toward becoming a Cuban surrogate. At the same time, criticism of the regime throughout the Eastern Caribbean is increasing, and there are some signs that Prime Minister Bishop is fearful of becoming isolated. (S)

US Policy to Grenada. State will first evaluate whether the charges against the two American citizens in prison in Grenada have any justification. If we view the charges as justified, we will press for an early and free trial. If the charges are not justified, we will press for the release of the US citizens and consider various options to attain that objective, including the issuance of a “travel advisory,” which would discourage tourism to Grenada. (S)

The overall approach to Grenada which the PRC recommends is to distance ourselves from the regime, and to look for opportunities effectively to encourage others in the region to criticize and ostracize the government.8 There would be no new US programs for Grenada, but heightened attention to the needs and concerns of neighboring countries. Contact would be limited and cool. Our criticism of Grenada’s human rights situation would reflect criticism from other governments in the region. There was no agreement on whether we should threaten the use of force or even whether the Defense Department should begin consideration of military contingency plans. This will be explored later. In addition, the Justice Department will be asked to investigate the possibility of involvement by the Embassy of Grenada in the flight of the two gun-runners, Wardally and Humphrey. The CIA asked for guidance on whether it should withdraw the Presidential Finding on Grenada in the light of both Congressional controversy and the apparent inability to pursue a political action plan in Grenada at this time because of repressive measures by the regime and lack of assets.9 (S)

Caribbean Guidelines. An interagency group will review a set of guidelines for US policy to the Caribbean that were prepared for the meeting and make a recommendation to the National Security Council on whether to accept them.10 (C)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 26, Folder: Jamaica, 10–11/79. Secret. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room.
  2. See Document 370.
  3. Carter wrote in the margin by the paragraph, “We may use VOA, UN, or other means to accuse Manley of planning takeover.”
  4. In his meeting with Habib, Bell proposed an economic plan designed to restore private investor confidence in Jamaica. (Telegram 296340 to Kingston, November 14; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790525–0701)
  5. The idea to submit Prime Minister Manley to a series of “litmus tests” emerged in a memorandum to Vance from Vaky and Kreisberg. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850174–0326)
  6. In the margin, Carter wrote, “If done crudely, this would be counter-productive. McHenry should be consulted.” Habib and Young met with Manley in Miami on November 29. See Document 200.
  7. See footnote 2, Document 330.
  8. In the margin to the left of the sentence, Carter wrote, “ok.”
  9. See Documents 325 and 328.
  10. See Document 373.