112. Memorandum From the Director of Central Intelligence (Dulles) to the Acting Secretary of State 1


  • The Political Situation in the Caribbean Area
The present movement, centered in the Caribbean area, against the remaining Latin American dictators is threatened with domination by international communism or, depending on several contingencies, may develop into an anti-American third force. In either case, the United States Government would find itself associated firmly in the public mind of Latin America with the extreme right, especially as the friend and supporter of Dominican dictator Trujillo.
Fidel Castro, the instigator of the present unsettled situation, is advocating a neutralistic bloc in Latin America, while actually supporting Communist-dominated revolutionary groups conspiring against [Page 373] the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. In addition, Castro’s support of Haitian exiles may lead to the establishment of a base in Haiti for attacks on the Dominican Republic.
Moderate leftist forces led by President Betancourt of Venezuela and former President Figueres of Costa Rica are opposed to Fidel Castro’s domination of this movement and are, themselves, organizing groups of non-Communist Nicaraguan and Dominican revolutionaries.
Revolutionary activity of this kind would undoubtedly bring, from the country attacked, a request for intervention by the OAS to avert a regional war. Since such a war would be heavily clouded by ideological feelings and slogans, the United States, as the strongest member of the OAS, could very easily acquire an ideological stigma difficult to avoid. Reiteration of the view that the United States is the supporter of dictators in Latin America has brought about an estrangement of even the moderate leftists, a situation which abets the cause of those who want to bring the Caribbean political scene under Communist domination.
I have thought it worth while to draw your attention to the conditions mentioned, which I feel may be of significance in the formation of future United States policy in the area. [remainder of paragraph (5 lines of source text) not declassified]
I am attaching for your consideration a memorandum covering the situation in more detail2 [1 line of source text not declassified].
Allen W.Dulles 3
  1. Source: Department of State, ARA Deputy Assistant Secretary’s Files: Lot 61 D 411, Caribbean 1959. Secret. The source text is undated, but the memorandum was probably drafted in mid- or late March. A covering transmittal note, addressed to Rubottom and Snow, is dated April 15.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.