306. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy1
Here is a report from Bob Murphy about his visit to Trujillo with Igor Cassini.2
Murphy’s conclusion is that our hostility to the Dominican Republic is unwise; he thinks we should “walk back the cat and initiate a policy of guidance.” He thinks that the groups at Ciudad Trujillo are willing and eager “to be taken by the hand and to institute democratic reforms.”
I know nothing of the Dominican Republic except by hearsay, but I think there can be little doubt that the whole concept of the Alliance for Progress would be gravely shadowed in the eyes of Latin Americans if we were to move to anything like a policy of “friendly guidance” toward Trujillo.
At the risk of misunderstanding, I think I ought to add that if the public were to know that Igor Cassini is providing public relations help to Trujillo, your own personal position as a liberal leader might be compromised. I cannot help thinking that your own position should be fully disengaged from any venture of this sort.
- Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Dominican Republic, Murphy Trip, May-July 1961. Secret.↩
- In April President Kennedy sent veteran U.S. diplomat Robert D. Murphy to the Dominican Republic to discuss with Trujillo the political situation there. Murphy was accompanied by Hearst newspaper reporter Igor Cassini, an acquaintance of the Kennedy family who had ties to Trujillo and acted as an unregistered agent for him in the United States.↩
- Reference is to the Sixth Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of American States in San Jose in August 1960. The Ministers approved economic sanctions against the Trujillo government, which had supported an assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Romulo Betancourt in June.↩