311. Telegram From the Ambassador in the Dominican Republic (Pheiffer) to the Department of State1

243. Gerald Lester Murphy, bearer US passport No. 790 (FS 165714) issued July 16, 1956, next of kin father, Lester G. Murphy, address, 1445 Manzana Way, Eugene, Oregon, missing since afternoon December 3, 1956. Car found abandoned near city. Murphy was co-pilot Compania Dominicana Aviacion2 but resigned on November 19. Since then has visited Miami and returned as extra crew CDA. Apparently planned to leave Ciudad Trujillo as advertised his effects for sale day prior his disappearance.

Consul has contacted Dominican police who safeguarding his personal possessions and apparently making thorough search for him.

Incomplete information indicates following possibilities: [Page 881]

Robbery, in view large sums money stated to be sometimes in his possession;
Suicide, in view of his recent despondency;
Political victim, either of Dominicans or Cubans or Communists, in view of his possible involvement in clandestine activities, or;
Escape by sea. Despatch follows.3

Suggest Department notify father and ask if he has late news of son’s whereabouts. Please advise Embassy by telegram results conversation with father.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 239.1122–Murphy, Gerald Lester/12–756. Confidential; Priority.
  2. The national airline of the Dominican Republic, CDA.
  3. In despatch 294 from Ciudad Trujillo, also December 7, Harry M. Lofton, Second Secretary and Consul of the Embassy, submitted a digest of statements made to him and other Embassy officers by people acquainted with Gerald Murphy. The despatch concluded: “From the above it is apparent that the subject engaged in some sort of clandestine activities. The Embassy cannot overrule the possibility that he met foul play at unknown hands.” (Department of State, Central Files, 239.1122–Murphy, Gerald Lester/12–756)