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The Cold War in British Guiana, 1953-1966: a case study of Anglo American cooperation

Ramcharan, Lilowatti (2003) The Cold War in British Guiana, 1953-1966: a case study of Anglo American cooperation. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86040) (KAR id:86040)


This thesis looks at how the cold war impacted on a small colony, British Guiana, between 1953 and 1966. The period was the height of the cold war. A local Marxist nationalist leader, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, had started the country's first political party and was agitating for independence. He won the legislative elections in 1953 under a Constitution providing for internal self-government and governed for 133 days before being removed from office for allegedly wanting to make British Guiana a communist state. The question arose: was he a communist leader aligned to Moscow or a left-wing patriot wanting to pursue a socialist course. What was the evidence that led to his removal as a Communist? How did the British and American Governments deal with the situation. How did they cooperate in dealing with it? Cheddi Jagan would subsequently win elections until 1964 when, although obtaining the highest number of seats in the legislature under a system of proportional representation introduced at the insistence of the USA, he would not be given an opportunity to form a government. He was effectively removed from power at the insistence of the USA and it would take twenty-eight years, until after the Cold War had ended, for him to win another election. The archival evidence indicates significant Anglo-American cooperation in keeping Jagan out of power because of his Marxist inclinations. Materials in the British and American national archives, and in the libraries of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, show significant Anglo-American cooperation in the areas of diplomatic relations, economic cooperation, intelligence-sharing, trades unions relations, debates in international organisations, and civil interactions. Materials examined at the George Meany Memorial Archives, and not hitherto written about, show the extent to which the AFIJCIO was active on the ground during periods of severe internal unrest in the 1960s, and show local leaders in their pay. American leaders have acknowledged the role of the C.I.A. in the country at this time but the C.I.A. papers have reportedly been destroyed. However, the papers examined at the George Meany Memorial Archives are vivid on the role of foreign operatives in British Guiana at this time. This thesis is the first to have looked at Anglo-American cooperation in containing an alleged communist threat in British Guiana.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Williams, Andrew
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86040
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:26 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 03:53 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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