157. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee1


  • Contingency Plan for the Dominican Elections


  • A. Memorandum to the 303 Committee dated 30 December 1965 and entitled “Presidential Election in the Dominican Republic”2
  • B. Minutes of the Meeting of the 303 Committee held on 6 January 19663

1. Background

On 6 January a paper entitled “Presidential Election in the Dominican Republic” was presented to the 303 Committee. This paper requested that the 303 Committee identify the presidential candidate favored by the U.S. Government and that a decision be taken as to whether a covert election operation should be undertaken on this candidateʼs behalf. The minutes of the 303 Committee meeting indicate agreement that the only visible candidate to support is Joaquin Balaguer, president of the Partido Reformist (PR). The 303 Committee decided to [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to prepare a contingency plan for an election operation in support of Balaguer, stressing those aspects needing the longest lead time, for presentation at the next 303 Committee meeting. The following contingency plan is submitted in response to this request.

2. Concept of the Operation

The purpose of the projected operation is to provide essential support to Balaguerʼs campaign; its implementation must be guided by certain basic considerations.

  • First, it is essential that the operation be carried out in such a way that United States sponsorship cannot be proven in any way. Two factors enter here: (a) the U.S. is already believed to favor Balaguer and will be accused of supporting him regardless of its real actions; (b) the exposure of actual facts of U.S. support would be nonetheless damaging both to the U.S. and to Balaguer. Normal operating conditions in the goldfish bowl environment of Santo Domingo present difficult security [Page 369] problems. Such problems will be further complicated by the international attention and interest which will be focused to an unprecedented degree on the Dominican elections.
  • Second, while Balaguer will need financial help as well as assistance in other forms in order to overcome certain handicaps, the amount of assistance given him must be controlled to avoid overweight. His campaign should be lean and hungry and his party organization should exert itself to the utmost in order to achieve the necessary degree of efficiency and at the same time hold to a minimum the inevitable accusations that he is getting help from non-Dominican sources.

In addition to money, Balaguer will need help in the form of advice and information. [7 lines of source text not declassified]

[1 paragraph (11½ lines of source text) not declassified]

In sum, three kinds of support to Balaguer are envisioned: (1) funds to be provided [2 lines of source text not declassified]; (2) information, expertise and political guidance relayed through reliable intermediaries whom Balaguer trusts; (3) development of media and other assets having a natural bias toward Balaguer or toward his platform. In the application of this support the guiding principle will be to tightly control the amount of aid and the manner in which it is given in order to prevent the aid from becoming apparent and to keep Balaguerʼs campaign organization lean and aggressive.

3. Implementation


Existing PR Campaign Machinery

[6 lines of source text not declassified] No direct contact with Balaguer has been authorized or established.

Through the second-rank PR leaders [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], Balaguer has indicated need for U.S. financial support in his election campaign. He has expressed growing concern over the number of adherents of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), the opposition party led by Juan Bosch, who occupy government positions at all levels. Balaguer has pointed out that these positions enable the PRD to influence the thinking of the campesinos, who traditionally do as they are told by the government, as well as to buy votes with jobs and to use government money, transportation and equipment for partisan political purposes. He said that the PR has limited financial resources and is finding itself unable to compete with the PRD under these conditions. Balaguer has also told his party leaders that the PR may not be able to compete effectively in the elections unless additional funds can be acquired.

Balaguer began to lay the groundwork for his campaign as early as 2 October 1965 when teams of party leaders began travelling to [Page 370] population centers throughout the interior. Although formal campaigning cannot begin prior to 1 March, Balaguer is already touring the countryside and has held one major political rally in Santiago de los Caballeros on 28 November 1965. He intends to devote the early stages of his campaign to the interior, ending with a strong finish in the capital during the final 45 days prior to the election. His party has had considerable success in its efforts to increase its membership through inscription drives and to lay the organizational groundwork for the coming campaign, but is having difficulty in raising new funds and even in collecting financial pledges on which it had relied. Propaganda and public relations mechanisms as well as other campaign necessities such as transportation are still lacking, are expensive to acquire, and obviously need time to develop and coordinate if they are to contribute effectively to the party campaign.


Proposed Measures

[6 paragraphs (2½ pages of double-spaced source text) not declassified]

4. Security Considerations

Since the United States is already believed to favor Balaguer and will probably be accused of supporting him regardless of its actions, it is more than ever essential that any support provided to Balaguer be sophisticated, and entirely covert. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

[5 paragraphs (9 lines of source text) not declassified]

5. Lead Time Requirements

[5 paragraphs (1 page of double-spaced source text) not declassified]

6. Conclusion

This paper outlines [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], if so instructed by the 303 Committee, support the candidacy of Balaguer, and highlights the reason why sufficient lead time is important.
Asum of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] would be needed; this amount should cover Balaguerʼs minimum financial needs while keeping the PR essentially lean and aggressive. [1 line of source text not declassified]
The security aspects are calculated risks which appear acceptable under the circumstances.
Implementation of this plan will await a 303 Committee decision.
  1. Source: National Security Council, Special Group/303 Committee Files, Meeting File, Dominican Republic. Secret; Eyes Only. A handwritten notation on this memorandum reads: “Approved by the 303 Committee on 20 Jan 1966.”
  2. Document 152.
  3. Document 155.