333. Memorandum From Weldon Litsey of the Office of Inter-American Regional Economic Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom)1


  • MAP Grant Aid Program for Dominican Republic

Following our request for the withdrawal of the offer of thirteen F80C aircraft on a reimbursable basis to the Dominican Republic, the Department of Defense has informally asked our opinion with regard to implementation of the MAP grant aid program for the Dominican Republic.


The FY 1958 program for the Dominican Republic calls for matériel (including spare parts) valued at $841,000, the bulk of which is for the Navy and the balance for the Air Force.

Matériel for the Navy includes: 2—40 mm. twin mount guns (heavy machine gun to be installed on their ships); 4—gun fire control systems for use with these guns and with two similar guns previously furnished; 41 gun sights for 20 mm. guns previously furnished; 10,000 rounds of ammunition for the 40 mm. guns; 3,000 rounds of 3’ .50 caliber ammunition; 200 depth charges and 6 depth charge projectors for anti-submarine warfare.

The Air Force matériel program consists of 900 2.25’ practice rockets and 120 general purpose bombs, 750 lb.

The balance of programs for the Navy and the Air Force consists of the follow-on spares and training.

The lower echelons of the Navy have indicated informally that they consider the Navy MAP program for the Dominican Republic a political one and not of significance from a security point of view. If this view is shared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense, it appears that Defense might accept a recommendation from us to put the whole program on a reimbursable basis, if we consider this step desirable.


Presumably, we could, without violating our Military Assistance Agreement with the Dominican Republic, put the program on a reimbursable basis. We could inform the Department of Defense that we consider the program to be no political asset, or even to be a political liability and recommend it be put on a reimbursable basis. However, the possible [Page 925] reaction of the Dominican Republic to this action would have to be considered. In Despatch No. 17 of July 10,2 the Embassy has expressed the opinion that a reduction in grant military aid would probably limit the Dominican Republic’s participation in the pursuit of MAP objectives. Purchases of equipment would probably be directed to non-U.S., more economical equipment. This would be undesirable to say the least.

The influence of our new Navy Mission and MAAG would probably drop sharply.

More serious would be the possibility that the Dominican Republic might interfere with or cancel our rights to use the guided missile base. The Air Force has indicated that this base is highly important, if not absolutely vital, to the long range proving grounds and the testing of missiles. Delays in the program and increased costs would be the very least effect of the denial of the use of the facilities in the Dominican Republic. While it is difficult to foresee the Dominican Republic’s reaction regarding the guided missile facility, it is more likely that they might deny us the use of it if, in addition to withdrawing the offer of F80C planes, we ceased all grant military aid.

It would appear that a complete cessation of grant aid at this time would be inadvisable.

We might recommend a slow-down in the delivery of equipment under the MAP program but with continued training activities.

As for the Navy program, the Chief Navy Section MAAG has recommended to Defense, in view of the failure of the Dominican Republic to take the necessary steps to improve its Navy and make proper use of equipment furnished by the United States, that no matériel be supplied until satisfactory improvement is demonstrated and that the Navy program be limited to continued training. Our Embassy in Ciudad Trujillo has concurred but has recommended that the program be slowed to a possible halt and not be terminated abruptly.

In line with the recommendations of the Chief Navy Section MAAG and our Embassy, we might suggest to Defense that we would favor a slow-down in the delivery of equipment for the Dominican Republic Navy. We should indicate that it is politically undesirable to deliver ammunition to the Dominican Republic at this time and request that the items (1) 10,000 rounds of 40 mm. ammunition and (2) 3,000 rounds of 3’ .50 caliber ammunition planned for the Navy be deleted from the program, as well as (3) 120–750 lb. general purpose bombs for the Air Force.

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The delivery of the Navy guns, gun fire control systems, gun sights, depth charges and projectors for the Navy, as well as the practice rockets for the Air Force would be left to the discretion of Defense.

It should be noted that the Embassy has recommended delivery of the F80C’s to the Dominican Republic, the timing of such delivery to be made with due regard for the political situation. It has also recommended approval of the FY 59 MAAG recommendations for the Air Force (not yet available to us) and has pointed out that the Air Force has made satisfactory progress toward meeting the MAP objectives.

While we have denied F80C aircraft to the Dominican Republic at this time for political reasons, we should be prepared to approve the sale of them when the political climate favors this. Defense considers that there is a military requirement for these aircraft in the eight MAP countries (including the Dominican Republic) for which they were approved. The Bureau of the Budget raised this question last autumn when Defense requested the release of funds for the planes. Funds were released only when Defense determined there was a military requirement for these aircraft for hemispheric security.


We should inform Defense that we favor a slow-down in the delivery of Navy equipment for the Dominican Republic, recommended by our Embassy. We should indicate that we consider the delivery of ammunition (except the depth charges and practice bombs) to be politically undesirable at this time and request that the ammunition listed above be deleted from the program. We should be prepared to approve the sale of one squadron of thirteen F80C aircraft when the political climate warrants.

  1. Source: Department of State, Rubottom Files: Lot 59 D 573, Dominican Republic. Confidential.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., Central Files, 739.5–MSP/7–1057)