The Ambassador in Venezuela (Donnelly) to the Secretary of State

No. 229

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s Transmittal Slip of January 14, 1948 requesting this Embassy’s comments on a note dated January 8, 1948, from the Dominican Ambassador at Washington concerning certain alleged acts of the Venezuelan Government.

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

The third general charge that the note makes is that the controversy is the result of a struggle between democracy represented by the Dominican Republic and Communism represented by Venezuela and its co-conspirators.

It is correct that the polemic is due, in part, to a difference in ideology. Because of the ideological and domestic political considerations, the issue does not at this time easily lend itself to settlement by good offices, conciliation or arbitration; that is to say, it is not an issue, such as a boundary or claims dispute, which is capable of exact settlement on a basis more or less satisfactory to both parties. Certainly no word has come to my hand that either the Venezuelan or Dominican Governments wish an effort to be made to remove the real causes for the mutual distrust which exists.

I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that, for the time being, the most practical approach to the problem is through inter-American investigation. As I have already reported, Mr. Betancourt, when he was Junta President, said to me that he would welcome a complete investigation conducted by the Pan American Union or the United Nations.

While the failure of the recent Nicaraguan expedition1 may signify the end of these unfortunate and dangerous adventures, it is possible that other attempts will be made directly or indirectly to aid revolutionary exiles to bring about a state of civil war. My present thought is that if this danger should reappear, serious consideration should be given to the feasibility of obtaining the consent of the parties in interest, [Page 167]and of the Governing Board of the Pan American Union, to an investigation by the latter of the charges which are made. If this consent could be obtained and a thorough, on-the-spot investigation Conducted with promptness and vigor, much might be accomplished toward not only discouraging irresponsible allegations but frustrating any expeditions that might be found to exist.

Meanwhile, I am in entire agreement with the Department’s policy of preventing the exportation from the United States of arms and munitions which might be used by exile groups or by the Dominican or Nicaraguan Governments to cause trouble here.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Thomas C. Mann

Second Secretary
  1. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 488 ff.