The Ambassador in the Dominican Republic ( Butler ) to the Secretary of State

No. 173

Sir: I have the honor to report that Mr. Charles C. Hauch of the Division of Caribbean Affairs and I called on the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic52 the afternoon of November 6. …

[Here follow statements by the Ambassador on the program which Mr. Hauch was to follow during his visit in the Dominican Republic, and a discussion of Dominican-Haitian relations.]

The Foreign Minister then spent some time in describing the dangers of Communism in Latin America. He expressed the fear that the United States would be as unprepared for a possible future war as it was for the recent war. He said that in case of trouble between Russia and the United States the Communists in Latin America would be so well organized that they would constitute a serious threat. Mr. Peña then expressed great pessimism about the world situation today. He reminded us that he had attended both the Mexico City and San Francisco Conferences.53 He claimed that the Latin American countries are confused and uncertain about the foreign policy of the United States. He thinks that “the Pan-American System was torpedoed at the San Francisco Conference”. Although he admitted that no agreement at San Francisco would have been possible without acceptance of the veto power, he thinks that Russia and Great Britain are the two powers which have benefited from the organization of the United Nations. He fears that the strong support of the United States for the United Nations—as well as recent Republican political victories—mean a return by the United States to the Monroe Doctrine and the consequent destruction of the inter-American system. Finally, Mr. Peña expressed great pessimism about democracy. He says that liberal elements in Great Britain and the United States, and the Catholic Church, are fighting a losing battle against world Communism. He professed to have doubts about whether the younger generation [Page 833] in the United States, in view of strong and insidious Communist propaganda, would remain loyal to the democratic tradition of America.

In reply to this diatribe, I reminded Mr. Peña that the Charter of the United Nations makes provision for effective regional organizations to support the world organization. I expressed the opinion that the inter-American system could be maintained and strengthened if the American republics decide to develop it on the democratic principles which are the foundation of the system. I expressed the opinion that the recent elections in the United States would not result in any fundamental change in United States foreign policy, reminding the Foreign Minister that our foreign policy for some time has had bipartisan support. I told the Foreign Minister that while the world situation today is a difficult and discouraging one, I could not share his extreme pessimism because I still believed, as I thought the American peoples in general believed, that liberal democracy is a vital force capable of meeting the various “isms”.

My personal opinion is that Mr. Peña has had an opportunity to discuss these questions with many Latin American statesmen at Mexico City and San Francisco, that some of his views may well reflect a rather strong current of official Latin American opinion; but that an important factor also may be an effort on the part of the Trujillo government to make a case for United States-Dominican cooperation in a fight against the alleged critical danger of Communism.

Respectfully yours,

George H. Butler
  1. Manuel Arturo Peña Batlle.
  2. For documentation on the Conference at Mexico City, February 21–March 8, 1945, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ix, pp. 1 ff.; for documentation on the Conference at San Francisco, April 25–June 26, 1945, see ibid., vol. i, pp. 1 ff.