839.113/5–3146: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina ( Messersmith )


A–537. Reference is made to telegram 195 of May 27 from the Embassy at Ciudad Trujillo, repeated to you,35 reporting the departure for Buenos Aires of Major Salvador Cobian Parra and other Dominican delegates to Peron’s inauguration. The Embassy suggests that Cobian may have a supplementary mission of endeavoring to [Page 824] obtain arms for Trujillo in Argentina. Reference is also made to a report dated March 26 from the Legal Attaché at Buenos Aires to the FBI 37 regarding the activities of Colonel Rodolfo Bosch Pearson of the Dominican army in connection with his alleged efforts to obtain arms for Trujillo in Argentina and Brazil early this year.

For your confidential information, this Government’s policy is to approve no shipments of arms from the United States to the Dominican Republic. In conformity with this policy, this Government in December rejected a Dominican request for a large quantity of ammunition, informing the Dominicans: (1) that since the ammunition could be used only against a neighboring country or the people of the Dominican Republic, granting the request would not further the cause of peace on the Island of Hispaniola; and (2) that furnishing this ammunition did not appear necessary for the defense of the hemisphere. The British and Canadians have conformed their respective policies to ours in this respect and have refused similar arms requests from Trujillo.

You are also informed confidentially that the Brazilian Government recently supplied Trujillo with a sizeable shipment of arms and ammunition despite this Government’s energetic representations to the Brazilian foreign office. These arms were transported to the Dominican Republic from Brazil in the Dominican corvette Colón which the Embassy at Ciudad Trujillo understands may shortly make another extended cruise to an unannounced destination, perhaps for the purpose of picking up arms.

On the receipt of recent information that Trujillo might be attempting to secure arms from Chile, the Embassy at Santiago was requested to investigate and, if the report appeared well founded, to set forth to the Chilean foreign office this Government’s concern at Trujillo’s receiving arms from any source.38 The Embassy was also authorized to inform the Chilean Government of this Government’s rejection of the Dominican arms request. No reply has as yet been received.

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Despite this Government’s deep concern regarding possible further deliveries of arms to Trujillo, the Department is inclined to feel that in the present state of relations between Argentina and the United States, it would be useless, if not unwise, to suggest to the Argentine Government that it withhold arms from the Dominican Republic should it appear that Argentina is seriously considering a Dominican arms request. The Department would appreciate receiving your views on this subject, as well as any information you may obtain regarding Dominican attempts to obtain arms in Argentina and Major Cobian Parra’s connections therewith.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Report of March 26, 1946, not printed. In a memorandum of April 2, the Legal Attaché” (McMahon) reported that according to information received by the offices of the Legal Attaché the Argentine Foreign Minister had advised Colonel Bosch and the Dominican Ambassador that the Argentine Government was not ready to dispose of any of her arms or ships (839.24/4–1046).

    In airgram 219, June 6, 1946, to Ciudad Trujillo, the Secretary of State referred to a report of April 30 from the Military Attaché” at Ciudad Trujillo. The final sentence of this report, “Arms Purchase from Brazil”, reads as follows: “However, it can be undeniably said that some Lend-Lease ordnance equipment has been sold by the Brazilian government to the Dominican Government.” (839–113/6–646)

  3. In a communication of September 4, 1946, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it was reported that the Chilean Foreign Office had denied that the Dominican Republic had made any such approach to Chile on this subject (839.113/9–446).