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

No. 6

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch no. 3 of January 2, 1948,1 I have the honor to report further regarding Dominican note no. 35841 of December 30, 1947,1 which charges that a revolutionary movement directed against the Dominican Government is being organized in Venezuela.

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

The charges which the Dominican Government makes against the Venezuelan Government are countered by similar charges of Venezuela against the Dominican Republic. Each protests its innocence of any political or revolutionary activity against the other. In the face of this situation, it is, of course, extremely difficult for the Department to accept at face value any of the categoric charges and solemn protestations which it is receiving. …

Improvement in the situation seems unlikely unless some collective international action can be taken. The following seem to be valid reasons for exploring carefully the possibility of such action:

if the present situation continues, it may become a disrupting issue at the Inter-American Conference to be held at Bogotá the latter part of March, 1948;2
the Treaty of Mutual Assistance signed at Rio de Janeiro last year4 makes it clear that the American republics prefer to handle problems relating to security and to the pacific settlement of disputes in the Western Hemisphere within the inter-American system before they are referred to the United Nations, but if this is to be possible the American republics must follow up the signature of their various treaties and conventions by effective action in carrying out the provisions thereof;
armaments in practically all of the Latin American countries already represent a much too heavy burden for the economies of those countries, particularly at a time when those countries are appealing for and expressing dissatisfaction with the extent of United States aid to improve their economic, financial and social positions;
it is unlikely that inter-American collective action in support of peace, security and the welfare of peoples will be initiated or will succeed unless the United States takes determined and continuing leadership.

In spite of the many major critical problems with which the Department is faced, some remedial action in the Caribbean area in the near future may well prevent the development of a serious situation which would represent a much heavier future demand on the Department’s time and attention.5

Respectfully yours,

George H. Butler
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 1 ff.
  4. For the Inter-American treaty of reciprocal assistance, opened for signature at Rio de Janeiro September 2, 1947, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series 1838, or 21 UNTS 77. For documentation on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. viii, pp. 1 ff.
  5. In a memorandum of January 16, 1948, to the Acting Chief, Division of Caribbean Affairs (Walker), the Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (Daniels) requested that Mr. Walker discuss with the Chief, Division of Special Inter-American Affairs (Dreier) and Ambassador Dawson the further possibilities of inter-American collective action in regar dto this state of friction in the Caribbean, in line with Ambassador Butler’s suggestions (731.39/1–248).