307. Memorandum From the Cuban Task Force of the National Security Council to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
- The Current Situation in and Contingency Plans for the Dominican Republic
The Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic is in the most serious trouble of its 30-year history. It has been condemned and isolated by the action of the 6th Meeting of Foreign Ministers at San Jose in August 1960. The economic position of the country has weakened seriously. Opposition to the regime is expanding and becoming more determined, and recent reports indicate Trujillo’s removal may be imminent.
The paramount interest of the U.S. is to prevent Castro-Communist or other unfriendly elements from taking control and to insure that Trujillo is succeeded by a friendly, democratic government. These objectives can best be achieved by cooperation with and encouragement of those elements in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere who share them and oppose Trujillo.
Opposition to Trujillo is divided into two main groupings: (a) the exile movements centered in the U.S., Venezuela and Cuba, and (b) the internal dissident movements. The facts that the various exile groups have little unity or cohesion, to some extent have been infiltrated by Communists and Castroites, and are generally not acceptable to the Dominican people make them a poor risk for the U.S. to support.
During the past year a moderate group of internal dissidents who appear to meet U.S. requirements has been identified and encouraged in its efforts by the U.S.
While it is highly desirable in the present Dominican situation for the U.S. to be identified with and to support democratic elements seeking to overthrow Trujillo, we necessarily run some risks in doing so. If Trujillo is overthrown with U.S. support, we may well be criticized by world opinion for subverting an existing government, albeit a highly [Page 630] unpopular one. A miscalculation of the capabilities of the moderate group could mean that U.S. support for an unsuccessful attempt against the Trujillo regime would be exposed, and following on the recent Cuban experience U.S. prestige would plummet. If we were to misread the intentions of the moderates or they were deliberately concealed from us, we might find ourselves in the position of having created a Dominican Castro. An additional factor for consideration in deciding the amount and timing of further U.S. support to the moderate anti-Trujillo group is the possibility that our support may prompt this group to take action before it or we are ready.
There is attached a paper dealing with various contingencies that may arise in the near future in the Dominican Republic and setting out various recommendations for the President’s approval.
In this connection it may be mentioned that Castro-Communist control of the Dominican Republic would almost certainly lead to a similar takeover in Haiti.
- Source: Department of State, NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Top Secret. Drafted by Hoover (S/O), cleared by Acting Secretary Bowles, Acting Assistant Secretary Coerr, Consul General Dearborn, Berle, S/O, IO, L, CIA, DOD/ISA, and DOD/J-t. According to a covering memorandum from Battle to Richard Goodwin, May 15, the report had been requested of the Cuban Task Force at the 483d Meeting of the NSC, May 6. Another covering memorandum from Theodore C. Achilles, State Department Operations Center Director, to the Secretary, dated May 26, stated it had been shown to the President who approved it on May 24 “in the absence of NSC consideration in view of the reported imminence of an attempt to assassinate Trujillo.”↩