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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 17, 1962

LETTER TO MINISTER OF INTERIOR LUBOMíR ŠTROUGAL, REPORT ON 'BUSINESS TRIP OF JAROSLAV MERCL TO BRITISH GUYANA'

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    Letter from Plk. (colonel) Houska to Minister of the Interior Lubomír Štrougal giving a summary of the report submitted by Jaroslav Mercl on a business trip/confidential probe in British Guyana. The report indicates that the Prime Minister, Cheddi Jagan, and his party are trying to gain independence and are strongly interested in gaining economic aid from socialist countries, including Czechoslovakia.
    "Letter to Minister of Interior Lubomír Štrougal, Report on 'Business Trip of Jaroslav Mercl to British Guyana'," August 17, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archiv bezpečnostních složek (ABS), fond I. správy SNB – operativní svazky, reg. č. 11667, č.j. A/1–00317/21–62, 17. srpna 1962. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Robert Waters and Jan Koura. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121114
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1st Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior Prague, August 17, 1962

Č.j. A/1–00317/21–62

Top secret

Minister of the Interior
Comrade Lubomír Štrougal
Re: business trip of Jaroslav Mercl to British Guyana – report
Annex: 26 sheets

Dear comrade minister,

From 12 July 1962 to 26 July 1962 the agent of the 1st Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior comrade Jaroslav Mercl made a business trip to the English colony British Guiana as the member of a legal business delegation.

Before his departure from Czechoslovakia he contacted via our fellow-worker in Košice, a scholarship holder with the code name BLACK [Rudolf David]. He gave him several contact letters to the prominent leaders of British Guiana, including the prime minister’s wife Janette [sic] Jagan.

During his stay in British Guiana he was in touch with these people: Mrs. Jagan, who is also the general secretary of the PPP (People’s Progressive Party), prime minister dr. Cheddy [sic] Jagan, the minister of industry, the minister of trade and several others members of the British Guyana government and PPP.

In conversation with them he gained information about the political and economic situation in this country, including information about gaining independence, perspective on developments in British Guiana after gaining independence, particularly the perspective of political and economic relations with Czechoslovakia after gaining independence. Besides this, he focused on gaining as much information as possible about the possibility to penetrate British Guiana through the Czechoslovakian secret service.

Mercl wrote a final report about his trip, but, I present to you comrade minister, for your information, the most important conclusions:

1. Jagan’s party and his government are trying to gain independence as soon as possible. Their activities are paralyzed with the policy of the British government, which initiated internal political and racial struggles and under this pretense is shifting to [postpone] giving British Guiana independence.

2. The movement for independence in British Guiana is strong and therefore it is probable that the British government will give independence. According to the prime minister Jaggan [sic] it will be at the latest in spring 1963.

3. Jaggan’s [sic] government is planning that when British Guiana gains independence, it will declare as an independent republic which will still be formally part of the British Commonwealth as are some African countries. However, dr. Jaggan [sic] suggested that if the English postpone granting independence to BG, his government could change this opinion.

4. British Guiana’s government is preparing the intensive building of industry with some socialistic features after BG gains independence. However, it will be necessary to calculate with the strong economic influence of British and US capital.

5. Jagan’s government shows strong interest in gaining economic help from socialist countries, especially from the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. From a political perspective it would be suitable to give BG this help after it gains independence. The next political development and stability of the relatively progressive Jaggan [sic] government will depend on how this government will solve economic problems in this country.

6. There is some possibility in foreign trade between BG and Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia could buy from BG oil, rice, bauxite etc. The BG market is open for our engineering industry and consumer goods.

7. As to mutual relations – it would be best to establish a branch of our foreign trade enterprise in Georgetown. It would be a branch of our office in London. After BG independence the BG government wants to open in Prague a trade mission that will operate in Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union. This mission could be, at the convenient time, changed to a consulate. Jaggan’s [sic] government doesn’t think about establishing diplomatic relations between both countries at this time.

8. Mercl researched in British Guiana that there are good conditions for work by the Czechoslovakian secret service. Workers of the Czechoslovakian secret service could put effective pressure on the BG government and members of PPP to get rid of British influence and US imperialism. There are also good conditions in this country for work against our main enemy [i.e., the United States]. Thus, it would be convenient if our branch of the foreign trade enterprise, later consulate, was from the beginning filled by one worker of the 1st Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior who would be officially an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Trade or Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Head of the 1st Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior

Plk. (colonel) Houska

This letter was written twice:
Original copy was sent to the minister
Copy was sent to the file no. 1667.

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