740.0011 Pacific War/1151

The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Scotten) to the Secretary of State

No. 810

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department events have moved so swiftly in the past few days that it has seemed somewhat superfluous to attempt to write a detailed report by despatch of each event as it occurred. The Department was advised promptly of the circumstances attendant to the declaration of war against Japan by the Dominican Government. The Department may be interested to know, however, that this declaration of war was not merely a gesture on the part of the regime now in power, but that it really received the spontaneous approval of all sections of public opinion here, including the man on the street. The sentiment of Dominicans of all classes has been very sincerely one of indignation at the treacherous initial attack of the Japanese, and I have had innumerable expressions of sympathy and offers of cooperation from Dominicans of all classes.

The officials of the Government have showed a spirit, not only of willingness, but of desire to cooperate with our Government and with this Legation and to carry out any measures relating to defense which we may suggest. The Legation has furnished the proper authorities with a complete list of Germans and Italians on our suspect list, and [Page 88] only this morning the Minister of Foreign Affairs47a assured me that, in view of the statements made by President Roosevelt in his speech48 last night, and in view of the reports published in the press that authorities in the United States have begun to round up suspected persons, not only of Japanese but of German and Italian nationality as well, the Dominican authorities will immediately, as a preventive measure, take into custody and place in concentration camps all of those persons referred to above. The Department will realize that there are large numbers of Jewish refugees here of German nationality, and that, up to the present at least, it does not seem to be necessary for this Government to take any measures against these unfortunate people, excepting to keep them under very close surveillance. As an additional measure of precaution, I called this morning a meeting of the representatives of the principal American firms here which, of course, included the representatives of the petroleum companies, the Electric Light Company, et cetera. I explained to this group that measures which might have seemed fantastic even a few days ago now constitute a pressing problem, and I referred especially to the necessity for defense against possible acts of sabotage. The problem of each company was discussed, and it was decided that the Military and Naval Attachés, accompanied by representatives of the oil companies and the Electric Light Company, would immediately see General Hector Trujillo, Chief of the General Staff, and arrange for adequate guards to be placed at the most vulnerable points belonging to those companies.

This Government has already instituted a censorship both of mail and telegrams. …

Respectfully yours,

R. M. Scotten
  1. Arturo Despradel.
  2. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, December 13, 1941, p. 476.