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

No. 1269

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that the Partido Socialista Popular held its first public meeting in Ciudad Trujillo on the evening of September 14, 1946. This party is avowedly a Communist organization, and was organized by Cuban and Dominican Communists. (See the Embassy’s despatch no. 1214 of August 28, 1946 regarding the formation of the Party.46) The meeting on September 14 was historic in the Dominican Republic in that it was the first meeting of an openly organized political party opposing the present regime since President Trujillo came into power in 1930.

[Here follows a report on speakers and reactions of the audience.] Apparently most of the officials of the Dominican Government believe that a mistake has been made in bringing the Communists into the Dominican labor movement and feel that the Undersecretary of Labor, Ramon Marrero Aristy, is the person who sold President Trujillo the idea. The motives behind the organization of this Communist Party have become somewhat clearer. Apparently President Trujillo has decided that he must have political opposition in the Dominican Republic and that the previous attempts at a controlled opposition have been unconvincing. Therefore, the President is permitting a considerable freedom to a genuine opposition. He has chosen to give this freedom to the Communists since, to the outside world, the formation of a Communist Party will possibly appear as the extreme in liberality towards an opposition. Also, since only Communists are [Page 830] opposing him, the outside world may gain the impression that the liberal elements here find nothing objectionable in his government. With the Communist Party having a toe-hold in the Dominican Republic other elements here may feel it necessary to support President Trujillo in order to protect the country from Communism.

In February 1946 President Trujillo permitted a limited freedom of the press, but soon found press criticism not to his taste, and therefore he clamped down on the press. The question about which everyone here is speculating is “How long will President Trujillo tolerate opposition from a political party?” and the consensus is that it will not be for very long. In any case, the Communist organization constitutes no immediate danger to the Trujillo regime.

Respectfully yours,

George F. Scherer
  1. Not printed.