President Roosevelt to the President of the Dominican Republic (Trujillo)

My Dear President Trujillo: I have followed with great interest the plans which your Government is making to celebrate the Centenary of Dominican independence. The ceremonies which are planned by the Dominican people to commemorate this anniversary will be fraternally shared in spirit by the peoples of the other American republics. We shall rejoice with you on this auspicious occasion, which marks a century of freedom for the cradle of Western civilization in this hemisphere.

I have had the pleasure of naming three distinguished citizens of the United States to represent this country at the ceremonies: Ambassador Frank P. Corrigan,41 Ambassador Avra M. Warren, and Major General William E. Shedd; and I have requested them to convey to you my cordial greetings and heartiest good wishes for the success of the Centenary celebrations. They will be particularly pleased to participate in the naming of the airport at Ciudad Trujillo, in memory of the late Lieutenant General Andrews,42 whose loss grieved us all so deeply. The honor which you are doing him will serve as a perpetual reminder of the services which he rendered in the protection of a vital section of this hemisphere at a critical moment in its history.

The military threat to this hemisphere has happily diminished, and the combined might of the United Nations is pressing ever more heavily upon the Axis aggressors. The climax of our armed operations is approaching. In possible disunity among the United Nations the guilty Axis leaders see the only possible escape from the consequences of their crimes; and they have done everything possible to foment such disunity. They must not succeed.

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It has consequently been with a feeling of regret that I have received reports from various sources in recent weeks intimating that relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti are not characterized by the cordial understanding so essential to the functioning of our inter-American system, and so vital in these critical days. I refuse to believe that President Lescot and yourself, animated as you both are by the greatest good will, cannot compose whatever differences exist between your two countries in a direct and expeditious manner.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti are both bound by close ties of friendship with the United States, and both have distinguished themselves by whole-hearted collaboration in our common war effort. Having so many interests in common, it is clear that they can compose their differences in that spirit of mutual conciliation which is the essence of the happy relations existing between the American republics. The fact that we are all at war with a ruthless enemy, and the fact that we have all subscribed to a system of public law in the American Hemisphere which requires peaceful settlement of disputes, underline the duty which all of us must bear to our respective peoples, and to our fellow American Republics in this respect.

I feel confident that I can count on you, my dear Mr. President, to do everything in your power to advance the cause of friendly relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Please be assured of my friendly and continuing interest in the matter, and feel free to call upon me, as I feel free to call upon you, for whatever assistance can be rendered in strengthening the peaceful ties between our three countries. I am making the same observation43 in answer to a letter from President Lescot,44 who, I feel certain, will share the viewpoint which both you and I maintain in this matter.

With renewed good wishes for the success of the Centenary, for your personal well-being and for that of the Dominican people, I am, my dear Mr. President.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt
  1. Frank P. Corrigan, Ambassador in Venezuela, was designated chairman of the United States delegation to the Centennial in place of Charles Taussig. This action by President Roosevelt, communicated to Corrigan in an unnumbered instruction of February 19, 1944 (839.415/178a), followed Taussig’s withdrawal from the delegation.
  2. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews, former Commanding General, Caribbean Defense Command, died May 3, 1943, while on duty as Commanding General of the United States Army in the European Theater of Operations.
  3. See infra.
  4. Dated February 17, 1944; copy transmitted to the Department in a letter of February 18 from Ambassador White to Willard Barber (neither printed).