The Chargé in the Dominican Republic (Scherer) to the Secretary of State

No. 896

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that the Dominican Government has during the last few months displayed an increasing concern about the possible penetration of Communist influence into the labor elements in the Dominican Republic and that the Dominican Government has also recently realized the remarkable value of the term “Communist” for application against all elements believed to oppose the Trujillo42 dictatorship. The Government’s concern over Communism is rather particular in that it is doubtful that there is another country in the world in which the Communists have made so little progress. According to recent estimates made by the Legal Attaché to the Embassy, there are only about twenty Spanish Communists (Third International) and four native Communist sympathizers in the Dominican Republic. The Spanish Communists are the remnants of a much larger group of Spanish Republicans who obtained refuge in this country, the great majority having since departed to Mexico and Venezuela, in part because they found the local political atmosphere uncongenial and in part because of the urging of the Dominican Government. While the primarily agricultural character of the Dominican economy is not conducive to the reception of Communistic ideas, the primary reason for the lack of progress made by the Communist Party in the Dominican Republic is the absolute control of all political activity by the present Government.

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The Government’s further concern over Communists has been reflected in several articles appearing in the local press. On March 24 [Page 828] there appeared on the front page of the newspaper La Nación of Ciudad Trujillo a repudiation of Communism signed by the Dominican Confederation of Labor which is the only labor organization in the Dominican Republic and is controlled by the Government. On March 26 the same newspaper gave equal prominence to a declaration by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santo Domingo43 that the Dominican church is strongly opposed to Communism. The leader of the Dominican Confederation of Labor44 expressed grave concern about the possibility of Communists seeking to enter the Dominican labor field and general concern over the dominance of the CTAL by Communists and fellow travelers. He was particularly interested in seeing the American Federation of Labor become active in the Latin American field. (See Embassy’s despatch no. 874 of April 22, 194645)

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On April 10, 1946, the Dominican Department for Foreign Affairs addressed a note to the Embassy informing it that two American citizens, Raul S. Chardon and Julio Court were at the writing participating in Communist activities. The Embassy replied to this note requesting any details “which the Dominican Government may have regarding the membership of these individuals in the Communist Party or of their activities in assisting that party” but, although the Embassy’s request for details was again brought to the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs on April 29, no reply has yet been received. This case was discussed in the Embassy’s despatch no. 864 of April 17, 1946.45 Chardón has since determined to depart from the Dominican Republic and has been given an exit permit valid for ten days for departure by boat from La Romana although there are no boats traveling from there to Puerto Rico in that time. This exit permit bears the notation “Communist Agitator”. The case of Chardón has been complicated by his participation in Dominican political affairs by writing letters to the newspapers endorsing the re-election of President Trujillo.

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Although the Dominican Government established a Legation in Moscow in 1945 no hint of any immediate intention on the part of the Russian Government to reciprocate has been received. The Russian Government did, of course, send a representative to the Centennial Celebration of Dominican Independence in 1944.

[Page 829]

The present administration by its oppressive measures may be expected to keep the Dominican Republic free of any significant Communist penetration. However, the real danger from Communism in the Dominican Republic will materialize when President Trujillo falls from power. As the whole political life of the country is centered in the Dominican Party and as that party has no basic program other than the maintenance of Trujillo in power, his fall will probably bring about that political vacuum which is so favorable to the rapid growth of the Communist Party.

Respectfully yours,

George F. Scherer
  1. President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina.
  2. Archbishop Ricardo Pittini.
  3. Francisco Prats Ramirez.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.