Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chargé in the Dominican Republic (Burrows)1


As I was about to leave the Secretary’s2 office this morning he mentioned a subject about which he had obviously been thinking the whole time I had been there but which he had apparently hesitated to introduce. He said that his government had been thinking seriously of the possibility of requesting some Inter-American organization or other to investigate the situation in the Caribbean with the idea of securing action or commitments from all of the Caribbean nations involved to maintain the peace. He said that his country has experienced a long period now of revolutionary and war threats and he feels that some kind of solution must be found; he said that his country wants only to live at peace with the world. He said that his country’s expenditures for ships, armaments, etc., in recent months had been completely out of balance with the nation’s economy and that some means must be found to obviate the necessity for any further such exaggerated expenditures.

The Secretary said that instructions had been sent to Ambassador Thomén to investigate the possibility of the Inter-American “Committee of Five” becoming interested in the Caribbean situation. The Secretary described this Committee as a five-man board consisting of representatives of the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. He said that the United States representative is the Honorable [Page 172]William Dawson; the Cuban Guillermo Belt; and that the others have not named their representatives. I took this to mean “The Committee of Five”.

I suggested to the Secretary that I had received a few days ago a study prepared in the Department of State with reference to existing Inter-American peace instruments that might be of some use in attempting to ease political conditions in the Caribbean area and that I would be very happy to make a resume of this report available to him. The Secretary said that he would be very interested. I agreed that I would seek an interview with him again on next Monday or Tuesday at which time we could discuss the matter on the basis of the report which I would bring along.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Chargé in his despatch 437, July 9, 1948.
  2. Dominican Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Virgilio Diaz Ordoñez.