Temple meeting with Guyana official Elvin McDavid, March 1978


ELVIN MCDAVID (LUNCH DEBBIE [Touchette], SHARON [Amos], TIM [Carter]) 19/3/78 (March 19, 1978)

– he said that he had been Minister of Information 1971-72 when he was about 25 years old but “it was too hot to handle” and tried to move to [too] fast so he had to be removed from this post/ he “shifted” over to the Party and worked quietly 4 years with the PNC as Executive secretary under Dr. [Ptolemy] Reid

– he said that he had to learn how to make compromises and still keep his principles

– he said that he would like to visit our project when he comes back from USSR

– he wondered what political party we were aligned with in the US and we mentioned neither but we supported progressives (and we outlined the whole support we had, the QSL’s [HAM radio communications], etc.)

– he has been to USSR

– feels money won’t be devaluated/ feels the IMF [International Monetary Fund] isn’t worth it because you end up without a solution to the economic problems and your products aren’t able to sell at the highest price which makes you lose in the end so he feels it’s a last ditch effort and he’d rather go to the people and get them to accept some sacrifices

– we talked about the media and how it seemed that the media (Movies) supported capitalistic goals and this made consumerism flourish/ he said if it was up to him he’d tighten up and the media would be one area he’d tighten up in

– he said that he had heard only good things about us but in his position with the party he only heard about problems and large problems at that and he had not heard of us is a problem – he said Dr. Reid welcomed us in and tho there were some questions about us at first that seems to have lessened

– he said that (we asked about Minister [Desmond] Hoyte) Hoyte is a very good Minister and very honest/ and that he had read the critical article but hadn’t thought anything of it and felt that others wouldn’t pay that much attention to it

– we told him about Brintley Benn [Guyana political activist Brindley Benn] and his articles and how he attacked the party and went to [Richard] McCoy and asked for CIA support/ he said “well, then you won’t mind if we outlaw him from printing, you won’t fight for his freedom/ we said there is a difference between freedom and slander and certainly we wouldn’t mind (but he was joking I think)

– he said that we were OK as long as we supported the Party and we seemed to be doing that

– he said Guyana has been taken for a ride by a lot of adventurists (he mentioned someone by the name of Green)

– he said production is important and we are productive but what Guyana needs right now is caneries [canneries] or processing plants/ he said they look into it and you can get a cannery (US) for about $20,000 and that is very important

– he’s heard that we have resources to develop the Northwest where we are and that’s important

– we talked about politics/ he is a student of social science/ studied 7 (or 8) years in England/ we mentioned the chaos of international economics and politics and mentioned Yugoslavia supporting Battista [Batista]/  he said there is no excuse for that except that when Castro first came into power he wasn’t immediately recognized by socialists – he talked of US selling arms to both the Arabs and the Jews

– he said Guyana is very cordial to China because of the generous aid of China with no strings (or little strings), but China does this because USSR supports the PPP so China supports the PNC (and China will automatically support the opposite of USSR (he is a realist about China and when Tim asked him about what he thought of Chinese foreign policy he didn’t have any illusion that the Chinese foreign policy made sense/ he said the [that] regardless of principle, China will automatically support anything Russia opposes

– when we asked him how Guyana gets along with North Korea/ he said the relationship is very cordial/ he said that the North Koreans tend to publish a great deal of literature/ more so than the other embassies and over-saturate Guyana with literature. He said that he has been to North Korea and it is


is very beautiful, one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

– when we talked about customs to him, he said “customs was difficult even for him” and said there is a lot of bureaucracy in Guyana/ he said that the Constitution even has a lot in it that doesn’t make sense

– we told him that it seemed strange that there is a rule that allows personal items in free for people but if they pack collectively they have to pay for the stuff. He said that it is easy to change the Constitution on things like that/ you just have to go to the appropriate department or better yet to a Minister that likes us and have it brought up (In Parliament for Congress) – like if Kennard likes us in the stuff in customs relate to his area we could have him bring up the issue

– he said it is quite common to bring up things for changes in the Constitution as he said there is very little in the Constitution that makes sense

– regarding USSR he said that politics makes compromises all over the world economically/ I had said that Minister King spoke at the Matthews Ridge Conference where we were delegates and that Minister King  said that in International Economics (tho you are a socialist in your nation), you can’t be a socialist internationally because of the pressure of the large nations. He said that Russia has companies from Japan and US investing there. I questioned how that would work since it seemed inimical to the system in USSR but he said that they do allow for investment of these two countries

– he said something about Japan being in rough shape now and that US is putting up high tariffs against Japan because Japan was exporting to US all kinds of things but wouldn’t import anything from the US