The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2023 57 The consulate also gained sympathy through its economic, educational, cultural, and sports diplomacy. reputation as humanists where color was concerned. However, there is color prejudice in Martinique. Césaire, communist deputy [Aimé Césaire was also a famous writer and intellectual.—Au.], has made several appeals to electors by raising the color question. This appeal is based on the fact that the wealth of the island is concentrated in hands of whites whereas political power is entirely in hands of Negroes—in the case of Martinique, in the hands of negro communists.” The consulate regretted at the time that the racial issue was being used by Martinican communists in their hostile propaganda against the United States, where segregation was still in effect. Washington could easily be seen as an ally of the economic oligarchy of the “békés,” the descendants of European colonizers who were worried about their future in the face of African Caribbean demands. In fact, in a 1946 report, Consul Christensen indicated that he had already been approached several times by white Martinicans who were asking for a U.S. military intervention in case of major unrest, and sometimes even for U.S. citizenship. The Cold War crises in the Caribbean and Latin America had an impact on the U.S. consulate. In the tense atmosphere following the invasion of Grenada by a U.S.-Caribbean coalition in October 1983, the consulate was given police protection. On Nov. 1, a bomb exploded nearby, slightly damaging the building that housed the U.S. mission and a Chase Manhattan Bank branch, but not injuring anyone. The Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance (“Alliance Révolutionnaire Caraïbe” in French), an armed proindependence group, claimed responsibility for the attack. At the same time, however, the consulate also gained sympathy through its economic, educational, cultural, and sports diplomacy. In the 1950s and ’60s, for example, it organized a very popular basketball cup with teams from Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Puerto Rico. It should be added that the consulate participated in the organization of three summit meetings, which brought together French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and U.S. President Gerald Ford in Martinique in 1974 (to discuss mutual concerns in the international economic, financial, and monetary fields); President Giscard d’Estaing, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, British Prime Minister James Callaghan, and German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Guadeloupe in 1979 (to discuss various international issues, in particular the Iranian crisis); and French President François Mitterrand and U.S. President George H.W. Bush in Martinique in 1991 (for post–Gulf War exchanges). U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE/NATIONAL ARCHIVES The U.S. Consulate Office Building in Fort-de-France in 1983. This building, which still exists today, is located in front of the Saint-Louis Cathedral.