TO: POLITICAL BUREAU
DATE: NEW YORK, WEDNESDAY MARCH 29th, 1983 SUBJ ECT: INTERIM REPORT ON NORTH AMERICAN RESISTANCE PROGRAMME
Generally speaking, Grenada’s fight-back campaign in North America has got off the ground. In terms of the four zones, New York is moving well; Washington has made a start; and in concrete preparations to step up their programme by Thursday. The West Coast got off the ground yesterday.
Consistent with the 26 point plan, our objectives are as follows:
1. To mobilize public opinion (including in Congress) in order to restrain the U.S. Government from attacking Grenada militarily;
2. To win long-term contacts and sympathy for Grenada, hence turning attacks to our advantage;
3. To solicit concrete assistance: paper, tape recorders, typewriters, etc.
As you know, Reagan attacked Grenada on national T.V. and radio just as I was about to arrive, showing spy photographs of our airport. We responded the very night and the response was carried on radio, but not widely in the media.
Grenada’s address to the Security Council the next day evoked some interest. Many journalists (NBC, TIME, etc.) interviewed Caldwell after his speech, in which he spent five minutes on Grenada, but we have not seen or heard anything come out, except on radio. In fact, minutes after requesting interviews, many T.V. stations changed their minds saying, they “can’t find crew”. Clearly the word was to, “blank Grenada”.
I understand that a few blacks and liberal whites used their influence and got ABC television to arrange the interview with Maurice. The airing of this interview has become the turning point. It is being released in bits. It’s a road march. Previously, it was Reagan’s speech that was the road march. According to Tom Wicker, N.Y. Times journalist on the David Brinkley (ABC) Show “This Week” Reagan has “lost credibility” for his phoney satellite pictures of Grenada since the airport is open to T.V. cameras. Brinkley agreed and they laughed. (Note that tens of millions view this show). Assistant Secretary of Defence, Ikle, embarrassed himself on National (ABC) T.V. “Night Line” with Ted Copple who shook him up brilliantly – tens of millions of viewers – trying to project Grenada as a threat and had to resort to “Russian style obstacle course”, human rights, etc. He stated that unlike Haiti, our type of process is “irreversible”.
[ Illegible ]
Reagan’s speech was effective, but not very much so since the “Soviet military build—up” idea is so stale. We were in some “star wars” technology. Therefore, the statements on Grenada were hidden in proposals with far-reaching strategic implications. Of course, the photographs of Cuba, [Illeg.] ads being visual aids would have helped his case a little, but only a little. In the end, the administration looked a bit silly, with respect to Grenada.
Over the past few hours, I note that they are trying to recoup the situation. The same ABC News has come up with a slanted version of the Grenada item, basically reversing themselves, stating that the airport will be used largely for Soviet aircraft, including Bear aircraft, especially since we have few hotel rooms. We have to respond to it. They’re fighting back fiercely, using the same ABC but out of Washington this time. Very latest reports confirm that ABC has changed their line. They are now projecting Grenada as a threat, using the sea lanes and “Cuban troops to Angola” arguments. Our size is irrelevant, they say. They’ve bowed to State Department pressure.
(Later changed again — second “ABC” Interview)
HERE ARE SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES – AREA BY AREA
(Areas are Washington/Atlanta/South: Dessiina; North—East: Caldwell (plus Burke); West Coast: Ian; Canada; Benjie)
AREA I NEW YORK/DETROIT (BASE OF OPERATIONS)
l. Planning meeting with Grenada Ambassador and Ian, leaders of work in four zones.
2. Participation in Security Council debate on Nicaragua.
3. Meeting with U.N. Secretary—General. He listened attentively and appeared somewhat concerned.
4. Radio interviews; WLIB, WBAI (including Maurice’s)
5. Meeting with hundred key Grenadians, leaders of organisations.
6. Press conference at U.N. Headquarters with large turnout of international press.
7. Meeting with C.P. Comrade Jackson. Party will give general support.
8. Meeting with leading white liberals, and progressive blacks, academics, media people, AN C and influential types. Best of its kind for years, over three hundred (double the number expected) attended, coming from all over the region.
9. Substantial Radio, T.V. and newspaper coverage of U.N. Press Conference by national media, ranging from skeptical to favourable, but mostly “balanced”, quoting both sides together.
10. Biggest event is rally planned for next Sunday April 5, in New York.
Meeting with Caribbean organisations, Grenadians, Students, Press. As of yesterday, Tuesday, the situation with regional/national press/publicity was as follows;
- New York Times article (pg. 7) – Saturday.
- Daily Challenge (only Black national circulation of just over 100,000.)
- Short New York Times piece (Front page) – skeptical.
- WINS, most listened to radio station in New York area gave good reports.
- New York Daily News (Positive story of U.N. Press Conference on prominent position, large circulation close to that of New York Times).
- Daily Challenge again.
- Short story in Wall St. Journal: Front page (from press conference).
- As mentioned earlier, ABC interview with Maurice showing airport in favourable light until the recent twist.
- Large number of radio interviews.
- Small number of short T.V. clips of press conference.
MOOD OF GRENADIANS (GENERAL)
Our nationals are in high spirits. Reagan’s attack on their airport has firmed them up. This is true in the U.S., Canada and Britain. We invited seventy-five (75) carefully chosen Grenadians to brief them on their tasks for Sunday’s rally and a little over a hundred turned up, inspite of hours of heavy rain (and most didn’t have transport). In little time, funds were raised for radio advertisements for the rally. Hundreds are phoning up all our missions expressing support. It is difficult to keep up with the noting of calls.
- A brief rap (five minutes) with a hundred leading progressives and Blacks (Angela Davis, PLO Rep., etc.) at a function.
- Half hour rap on Howard University Radio.
- Fascinating meeting with OAS Secretary—General Orfila. His response to Maurice’s letter was sympathetic and supportive. “The Americans have closed the door on dialogue” he said. He went on to add that this makes him frustrated. He will meet right away with William Clarke, Reagan’s National Security Advisor.
- An ABC T.V. interview on meeting with Orfila (fact of presenting letter, content etc.) has not been aired.
— Caribbean Ambassadors Caucus. Guyana – supportive; Jamaica — sympathetic; Barbados — skeptical; Antigua – concerned, but in an idealistic way.
- Arrangements are being finalized for meeting with Congressional Black Caucus, Senators/Congressmen, rally, press conference, OAS protocolary session.
Tuesday 29th – (1) Interview with Radio, T.V., two newspapers. (2.) Meeting with Friendship Society. (5) Address to Oakland City Council with possibility of solidarity resolution being passed later in week.
Wednesday 50th — Maj or press conference due (Note difference in time) The U.N. Press Conference was front page in San Francisco Chronicle, largest circulation paper in region. Balanced report.
The publicity is also preparing ground, whipping up interest in build-up for Sunday’s rally with Dessima, Claudette Pitt etc.
- Meeting in Sheffield. Fifty persons – Firm.
- Letters delivered.
- Met with Minister Cranley Enslow who said that this is a figment of our imagination and that he will respond in writing. He also said we’ve stopped relaying BBC news.
- Demonstration planned in front of U.S. Embassy on Tuesday, first working day ader long weekend.
- Black media briefed.
- Large media resisting access to us.
All in all, the programme is taking shape and we are getting reasonable responses and results. So far tens of millions would have got our version (ABC has a high rating and David Brinkley’s “This Week” report and “Night Line” are listened to by tens of millions.) In addition to the news, there have been more than a dozen radio interviews. Many of the radio stations and newspapers reach over a million persons. Also, the attacks (and fightback) have widened and deepened our support and sympathy and the awareness of our situation among progressives, academics and Blacks. We are making progress on building a wider network of friends and allies vital for our future work.
The satellite photo used by Reagan referred to in the report.