The Dominican Embassy to the Department of State20



The Government of the Dominican Republic has received with profound surprise the aide-mémoire which accompanied the note handed to Ambassador Garcia Godoy by His Excellency Spruille Braden on December 28 last,21 relative to the request for an export license made by the Dominican Embassy at Washington for a certain quantity of ammunition which our Government wished to acquire from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.

After studying conscientiously and carefully the reasons set forth in the document under reference for justifying the refusal of the license requested, the Dominican Government considers it to be its duty not to accept the reasons adduced and even to express the displeasure with which it has received them and its desire to refute and contradict them in order duly to clarify a situation which in any case, involves an irritating attitude of prepossession and prejudice against the aims and purposes which this Government has for the public welfare.


It was stated that “most of the ammunition sought by the Dominican Government could be used solely for two purposes: either against a neighbor republic or against the people of the Dominican Republic”.

The Dominican Republic at present maintains excellent relations of friendship with all the republics of the continent, with the exception of a single one …

If, contrary to what the facts indicate, the expression “neighbor republic” specifically refers to Haiti, to impute to this Government designs of attacking our adjacent neighbor, then the prejudice is all the more unjust and gratuitous because no indication—absolutely none—of an objective nature on the part of the Dominican Government could justify it.

[Here follows denial of Dominican aims of territorial conquest in Haiti, and a detailed account of Dominican-Haitian relations.]

[Page 817]


The document to which the present reply is being made presupposes that the ammunition requested by this Government might be used against the people of the Dominican Republic.

The history of the Dominican Republic does not record the existence of a single Government that has placed at the service of its people the interest and zeal which President Trujillo’s Government has done. How is it possible to think that the latter may arm itself against its own people? To insinuate such folly is equivalent to denying in the Dominican people all its chivalrous virtues. In the Dominican Republic there exists at present a close and unbreakable bond of solidarity between the people and the Government; not for simple sentimental reasons, but for more profound reasons of advantage and satisfaction for the masses.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The surest and most evident demonstration of solidarity with their Government was given by the Dominican people during the war. The spirit of discipline and sacrifice with which this country placed itself at the side of the United States from the very day of Pearl Harbor22 and which was maintained without change and without faltering up to the last minute of the war is a palpable and indisputable result of the bonds of understanding which unite the Dominican Government and people.

[Here follows an account of the advantages to the Dominican people derived from the political influence of President Trujillo.]


“The Government and people of the United States necessarily have warmer sentiments for those Governments which rest upon the consent of the governed expressed periodically and freely. This Government has during recent years observed the situation of the Dominican Republic and has not been able to perceive that democratic principles have been followed there either in theory or in practice. The present conclusion is based on the lack of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, as well as on the suppression of all political opposition and on the existence of a single party. To furnish a large quantity of ammunition in view of such a situation might be construed as constituting intervention in the internal affairs of the Dominican Republic and as an endorsement of the said practices.”*

The first impression that is obtained from a reading of the paragraph of the aide-mémoire transcribed above is that the said document [Page 818] does not take into account the fact that the Dominican Republic is a member of the United Nations and that, as such, has fulfilled and is fulfilling all its duties and obligations and therefore deserves respect and consideration on the part of its friends and allies.

The present Dominican Government was freely elected by constitutional methods, in the month of May 1942, with the circumstance that this election had more ballots cast than any other in our history. On that occasion there occurred a normal change of government in the Dominican Republic in virtue of the rule of rotation of power.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The affirmation that during recent years it has not been possible to perceive that democratic principles have been observed in the Dominican Republic—either in theory or in practice—is altogether inexact.

[Here follows a laudatory account of the Dominican Party and its accomplishments.]


The Government of the Dominican Republic has laid great stress on keeping in harmony with that of the United States of America with respect to its needs for military and strategic supplies. This determination was considerably strengthened and increased after the United States entered the war and, with that country, the Dominican Republic.

In this connection it may be asserted that the Washington Government knows for certain and with all exactitude the military possibilities of this country and is perfectly aware of the fact that we cannot get along with the arms which we now possess.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . the armament possessed by the Dominican Army is inadequate and even insufficient for the internal security of the country; it is absolutely impossible for the Dominican Government to cooperate in the defense of the Hemisphere with the war materiel which it now possesses.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The export license requested by the Dominican Ambassador and discussed in the aide-mémoire handed by His Excellency the Assistant Secretary of State refers to ammunition—supplementary materiel—the acquisition of which will not in any way be able to change the present status of our armament, because it is not substantial materiel. This ammunition is intended to keep at a minimum of defensive efficiency the national forces, declared inadequate by American experts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. Handed to the Assistant Secretary of State (Braden) by the Dominican Ambassador (Garcia Godoy) on January 14, 1946. Copy transmitted to Ciudad Trujillo in instruction 500, January 25.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ix, p. 993.
  3. December 7, 1941.
  4. The English text of the aide-memoire was not available to the translator when this translation was made.—TC [Footnote in the file translation.]