Operation Urgent Fury: The Role of American Diplomacy in the U.S. Invasion of Grenada
This article explores the role of American diplomacy during the Grenada crisis in October
1983. Although the invasion is usually viewed as a military operation, American diplomats
spearheaded the decision. George Shultz, Secretary of State at the time, argued in his memoir
that the entire Grenada operation was driven by the State Department. Following a coup
on the island staged by an extreme Marxist group and subsequent murder of Prime Minster
Bishop and some of his government members, a shoot-on-site curfew was declared and the
situation was becoming chaotic; endangering hundreds of American medical students in Grenada.
The U.S. request to facilitate the students’ evacuation was not met by the Grenadian
authorities. The Organization of East Caribbean States members, fearing that the Grenadian
scenario could affect their countries, formally requested the United States to intervene militarily.
In response, President Reagan authorized military intervention. The American diplomats
were assigned a role of civilian control on the island during and after the invasion and facilitated
the peaceful evacuation of the American students. The U.S. military left the island shortly
thereafter, and the Governor General appointed the Provisional Government. In one year the
Grenadians held the Parliamentary elections and elected a new government