343. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

1. Perez: I had three hours of discussions with President Perez2 covering a very wide variety of subjects: nuclear proliferation, oil prices, North/South relations, Caribbean cooperation, Middle East, compensation for nationalization of US oil companies, human rights, Panama Canal treaties, Cuba, Southern Africa, and Guyana. I have already given you a brief summary of our discussions on a number of these subjects.3 Two or three deserve further comment.

On Belize Perez said that he had now come around to the position that the Belizeans should accept the British/Guatemalan tentative agreement. I told him that we agreed completely and described to him my conversation with Prime Minister Price of Belize.4 I told President Perez that we had advised the Belizeans to accept the current British/Guatemalan proposal and that it was our opinion that he would get the better deal if he made it now than if he waited for the next Guatemalan administration. I further indicated that President Torrijos had changed his views and now also agreed that it was desirable for Belize to accept the current British/Guatemalan tentative agreement. I said that I understood the Costa Ricans and Jamaicans also agreed. I urged President Perez to invite Price to meet with him so that he could persuade Price to accept that position. I told him that I believed his (Perez) role would be key to bringing about a settlement. He said he would do this immediately and I said that I would let them know the current Mexican position after I met with Roel on Friday or Saturday.5

When I raised the question of compensation for nationalization of US oil companies, I was pleased to find that the Venezuelans had gotten their house in order in preparation for my visit and now are making good progress towards winding up this matter. This is important, as it has been a lingering sore which needs to be cleaned up promptly.

On the question of the Caribbean development group Perez expressed his strong interest in seeing this go forward and pledged [Page 983] their full participation at the meeting on December 14/15 here in Washington. A problem remains between the Trinidadans and Venezuelans on this matter, as both mistrust the other. We are going to have to play the role of mediator between them.

President Perez raised the question of Cuba and said that he believed our estimates of Cuban personnel in Africa were inaccurate. He said that Castro had told him that our original figures several months ago were much too low, that the Cubans had since reduced the number of Cuban personnel in Africa, and that they wanted to make this clear to the US.

On Guyana Perez said he is prepared to settle the long-standing border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana. He expects to work out the settlement in the near future.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Venezuela.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 19, Evening Reports (State), 11/77. Secret.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 342.
  3. Not found.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XV, Central America, footnote 2, Document 17.
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XV, Central America, footnote 5, Document 17. “Friday or Saturday” refers to November 25 or 26.