British spies sought help from Canada on South American file: secret study
British spies asked Canada to help infiltrate the Cold War-era government of what is now the South American country of Guyana, a newly declassified study reveals.
"The British hoped that the Canadians might be able to provide an economist who could moderate what they termed Jagan's 'extreme left-wing tendencies' and guide his policies along 'sound lines.' "
The scheme, which never came to fruition, was just one episode in the cloak-dagger relationship between the transatlantic allies, according to the top secret study prepared for the federal government by Wesley Wark, a University of Toronto historian.
A draft version of the 265-page document, based largely on still-sealed records, was released to The Canadian Press in response to a request under the Access to Information Act.
Jagan served as chief minister of British Guiana following the victory of his People's Progressive Party at the polls in 1953.
Jagan's government gave more rights to farmers, improved pay for workers and overhauled drainage and irrigation systems, exacerbating relations with colonial masters in London.
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