330. Letter From the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Mutual Security Affairs (Barnes) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Sprague)1

Dear Mr. Sprague: I refer to my letter of December 6, 1956,2 regarding the desire of the Dominican Government to obtain either as grant aid or on a reimbursable basis twenty type PCS ships and six steam-turbine destroyers. In its reply of March 4, 1957,3 the Department of Defense stated that it did not favor the provision of twenty PCS ships and six destroyers on either a grant aid or reimbursable basis. By diplomatic note of June 10, 1957, this Department informed the Dominican Embassy that its request could not be met.

This Department has now received note No. 2305 of July 8, 1957,4 three copies of which are attached, from the Dominican [Page 920] Embassy requesting two steam-turbine destroyers on a five-year loan basis under the Military Assistance Program. I should appreciate the views of the Department of Defense as to the present need of the Dominican Republic for two destroyers and the possibility of such a loan (which would, I believe, require prior Congressional approval) if it should be determined that such a need exists.

As I noted in my letter of December 6, it is our understanding that the Department of Defense did not include the Dominican Republic in the ship loan program for Latin America since it was of the opinion that the Dominican Republic was not capable at that time of absorbing additional naval vessels. We have also been informed by our Embassy in Ciudad Trujillo that the Chief of the Naval Section of MAAG has recommended that no further matériel should be furnished for the Dominican Navy under the grant aid program until such time as the Dominican Navy meets the requirements listed in the “Military Assistance Programming Guidance”. Our Embassy concurred, recommending that matériel be curtailed by a slow-down or foot-dragging process rather than by sudden cut-off.

It would appear then that the Dominican Government has not taken the necessary action to enable it to maintain and make effective use of the destroyers requested even if they were used to replace obsolete vessels of its Navy.

Therefore, if the Department of Defense should not favor lending two destroyers to the Dominican Republic at this time, the Department would be prepared to inform the Dominican Embassy that the request cannot be met.

Robert G. Barnes
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 739.5–MSP/7–2357. Confidential.
  2. Document 310.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 739.5–MSP/3–457)
  4. The diplomatic notes have not been found in Department of State files.