325. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, April 22, 19571


  • Murphy–de Galindez Case


  • Acting Attorney General Rogers2
  • Assistant Attorney General Olney3
  • Mr. Irons, Department of Justice
  • Assistant Secretary of State Rubottom
  • Acting Legal Advisor Raymond
  • Mr. Spencer M. King, ARA

Mr. Olney explained in some detail that the Department of Justice considered that indictment of John Joseph Frank under the Foreign Agents Registration Law might be imminent. He explained that a good case had been built up and witnesses found that would make it almost certain that a conviction on such a charge could be obtained. For example, he said that they had an excellent witness who would testify that she had written a number of reports which Frank addressed to Generalissimo Trujillo in which de Galindez’ name appears. The reports apparently tie Frank into Dominican efforts to blacken the names of de Galindez and Silfa.4

It is also possible that an indictment may be sought against Frank for conspiracy to kidnap, although it may be that de Galindez’ name would not be mentioned. However, Espaillat would almost certainly be named as a “co-conspirator” which Mr. Rogers explained did not necessarily mean that Espaillat would be on trial.

Since inevitably any action against Frank would be based on Dominican activities in this country, many of them “improper,” the Department of Justice is fully aware that there would be foreign policy implications. Mr. Rogers asked Mr. Rubottom what the Department’s position was. Mr. Rubottom replied that on the whole, the Department would be inclined to “let the chips fall where they may.” Continual efforts are made to preserve the solidarity of the inter-American family of nations and admittedly at times our sense of morality and principle is sometimes strained. We would wish to be sure in this case that it was not just a “legal exercise,” but if [Page 914] there is really a case to be made, the Department of State certainly does not wish to try to cover up for the Dominican Government in any way.

Col. Raymond5 asked if the Department of Justice would like to indict the Dominican Consul General in New York, Gen. Arturo Espaillat. The reply was a firm affirmative. Some discussion then followed as to what steps might best be taken with Espaillat with consideration being given to:

Asking him to testify before a grand jury;
Asking the Dominican Government to waive his immunity;6
Informing the Dominican Government that his presence here is no longer acceptable.

It was generally agreed that (a) was impractical since, under District law, were he voluntarily to waive his immunity believing that the target of the investigation was Frank while he himself was really the target, he would gain immunity. Course of action (b) would undoubtedly be rejected by the Dominican Government and would probably result in Espaillat’s recall by that Government. Course of action (c) would be appropriate once the case had broken and Espaillat’s name mentioned.

It was agreed that the close coordination which has marked the handling of this case would be continued and that the Department of State would move ahead with a request that Espaillat’s immunity be waived. The timing of the presentation of this request would be worked out in conjunction with the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice in turn will keep the Department of State advised as to its plans for Frank. The Department of State will also begin to prepare necessary background and press statements for use when the case breaks and the tie-in to the de Galindez and Murphy cases becomes apparent to the press.

  1. Source: Department of State, Rubottom Files: Lot 59 D 573, Dominican Republic. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by King.
  2. William P. Rogers, Deputy Attorney General.
  3. Warren Olney, III, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.
  4. Nicolas Silfa, Secretary of the Dominican Revolutionary Party in New York City.
  5. John M. Raymond became Acting Legal Adviser to the Department of State on April 3, 1957.
  6. A handwritten note attached to the source text indicates that Rubottom asked King to hand carry the memorandum to Raymond for his clearance. A second note indicates that Raymond suggested a deletion from paragraph (b) of the memorandum and that King made the requested deletion. The deleted phrase reads “that he could be subpoenaed for such an appearance; and”.