363/5–1551

The United States Representative on the Council of the Organization of American States ( Dreier ) to the Department of State

confidential
COAS 21

Subject: Termination of the Special Committee for the Caribbean

On Monday, May 14, the final report1 of the Special Committee for the Caribbean, established on April 8, 1950 by the Council of the Organization of American States acting provisionally as Organ of Consultation, was delivered to the Secretary General2 of the Organization of American States and released to the press.

The report was drafted and approved at the final meeting of the Special Committee on May 7. On May 10 it was sent to the Representatives on the Council of the four directly interested governments (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Haiti) for their confidential advance information. The receipt on May 14 of a note dated [Page 972] May 123 from the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic,4 addressed to Ambassador José Antonio Mora of Uruguay as Chairman of the Special Committee, provoked an all-day informal consultation among the members of the Special Committee. It was decided, however, not to change the final report under which the Committee terminated its labors. An explanation of the position adopted by the members of the Special Committee was incorporated in a note which Ambassador Mora sent on May 145 to Dr. Alberto Lleras, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, transmitting the Dominican note for inclusion in the documentation of the Committee.

Copies of the final report of the Committee and of Ambassador Mora’s confidential note to Dr. Lieras are attached. Although the report of the Committee was released on May 14 for publication in newspapers of May 15, the Members of the Committee decided that the note to Dr. Lieras transmitting the Dominican note of May 12 would not be made public unless the Dominican Ambassador released his note.

The Committee’s final report was drafted in such a way as to make it possible for the Committee to cease its activities. It will be recalled that an effort was made in November 1950 to issue a report which would have wound up the Committee’s affairs by declaring the controversies, which were the subject of the resolutions of April 8, 1950, to have been ended. At that time the Government of the Dominican Republic, overruling the informal opinion expressed by the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic who was in New York at the time, declared that it would not accept a statement of that sort, since it did not consider its dispute with Cuba settled in all respects.

In order to avoid any repetition of this difficulty, and believing genuinely that the need for the Committee no longer existed, the members of the Committee prepared their final report with great care. They avoided any broad statements concerning the existence of an attitude of harmony amongst all the Caribbean states, but did indicate that any remaining difficulties which might exist were fully capable of being handled through normal diplomatic channels. No indication is given in the report that the states directly concerned have approved it, nor was their approval sought. The Committee refers to the resolution by which it was established more than a year ago with “provisional character” and states that it considers its work ended.

It was the hope of the Committee that the report would be accepted without any adverse comment on the part of any of the member states of the Organization of American States. The members of the Committee shared the belief that liquidation of the Committee itself might, in [Page 973] a small measure, contribute to the realization on the part of those governments concerned in the resolutions of April 8, 1950, that any remaining difficulties should be settled through direct negotiation.

Hopes for tacit acceptance of the Committee’s final report were dashed when, on Saturday, May 12, the Dominican Ambassador, Dr. Luis Thomen, telephoned Ambassador Mora to state that he had received the report of the Committee, but wished to submit to the Committee a note containing further information which would indicate that the situation in the Caribbean was not as favorable as the Committee believed. He argued that it was important that the Committee not be terminated. His note was delivered on Monday morning, May 12, to Ambassador Mora with copies to all other members of the Committee.

The note, of which a copy is attached, makes charges concerning new conspiratorial meetings in Cuba alleged to be sponsored by President Prío Socarrás6 and other high Cuban officials. The note also refers to various arms smuggling transactions in Mexico, Guatemala and the United States by persons believed to be enemies of the Dominican Government.

Ambassador Mora requested the members of the Committee to meet with him informally on May 14 to consider the nature of the reply that he should make to the Dominican note. All members of the Committee except the undersigned strongly held the view that the Committee was no longer in existence and it was, therefore, understood that the persons present were there in their capacity as former members of the Committee only. The Colombian representative, Dr. Jorge Mejía Palacio, argued in favor of a simple reply to Ambassador Thomen to the effect that the Committee, having already terminated its existence, could do nothing about his note but transmit it to the Governments for their consideration. This was opposed by others, including the U.S. Representative, on the grounds that it would inflate the significance of the new charges, which were generally felt to represent primarily a last minute attempt of the Dominican Ambassador to prevent liquidation of the Committee. It was finally decided to transmit the note to the Secretary General, under cover of a letter signed by Ambassador Mora, which would carefully explain why the Committee had felt that it should not alter the decision taken on May 7 to terminate its work. As will be seen from the attached copy of the note, the Committee attaches importance to the fact that it was given a clearly provisional character which did not justify its indefinite continuation; that normal diplomatic channels were open to the Dominican Republic for the purpose of clarifying problems mentioned in its note; and that the termination of the Committee in no way limited the right or opportunity [Page 974] of the Dominican Government to take up with appropriate inter-American organs any situation which it felt threatened the peace.

With the transmittal of its final report to the Secretary General and its release to the press, the Special Committee for the Caribbean may now be considered to be definitely terminated.

John C. Dreier
  1. A copy of the report, dated May 14, 1951, is attached to the source text, but it is not printed; for text, see Annals of the Organization of American States (Washington, 1851), vol. 3, pp. 338–339.
  2. Alberto Lleras Camargo.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Luis Francisco Thomen.
  5. A copy of the note in Spanish is attached to the source text, but it is not printed.
  6. Carlos Prío Socarrás, President of the Republic of Cuba.