43. Editorial Note

According to a history of this crisis prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after the April 30, 1965, meeting on the Dominican Republic (see Document 42): “General Wheeler reviewed Admiral Mastersonʼs (Commander of Joint Task Force 122, directly under CINCLANT) plan and concluded that assigned forces, particularly the ground elements, were too weak for the task. He alerted the MEB and the airborne divisions and, (the entire 82nd Airborne Division with the 101st Airborne Division ready in reserve) with McNamaraʼs approval, moved some amphibious shipping from Virginia to North Carolina, near the Marine base at Camp Lejeune. The JCS decided that Lt. Gen. Bruce Palmer, Jr. USA, should go to Santo Domingo and take command, under CINCLANT, of all US ground forces in the Dominican Republic. At 1130, Gen. Wheeler gave Gen. Palmer an oral briefing. Gen. Palmer reached San Isidro airfield at midnight. The next morning, May 1, Palmer received the following instructions from General Wheeler:

“ʽYour announced mission is to save US lives. Your unannounced mission is to prevent the Dominican Republic from going Communist. The President has stated that he will not allow another Cuba—you areto take all necessary measures to accomplish this mission. You will be given sufficient forces to do the job.ʼ”

A footnote to the preceding paragraph reads: “Msg, JCS 1113 to CINCLANT, 30 APR 65, C, CJCS 091 Dominican Republic (DATA Concerning Roles and Actions of DOD). Stability Operations, Dominican Republic, Vol. I, Pt. I, Ch. II, p. 1, S, JMF 9128.4 (4 May 65) sec 1A. Interv, W.S. Poole with GEN Bruce Palmer, Jr., USA (Ret.), 4 Sep 84.”

In April 1965 Lieutenant General Palmer was Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and under orders to become CG, XVIII Airborne Corps in June. On 7 May he formally took command of all Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force units ashore. When he became Commander, US forces in Dominican Republic, JTF 122 was dissolved. (JCS and National Policy: 1964–1968, pages 460–461)