266a. Editorial Note

Following its 1965 intervention in the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Government worked to reconstitute the Dominican Government and hold democratic elections. Early on, U.S. policymakers determined that the Dominican provisional government was too weak to confront communist insurgents and concluded that the United States would have to take the lead in building an anti-communist police force. To that end, the U.S. Government decided to set up committees composed of representatives from the White House, Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States and the Ambassador and Country Team in the Dominican Republic to deal with the perceived threat. Within a month, the United States was working with the Dominican Government to revamp the Dominican Department of National Investigations (DNI) and establish a Department of Special Operations (DSO) in the National Police with responsibility for conducting counterinsurgency operations.

In March 1969, the CIA reported that in June 1968 the U.S. Government had received credible information that the leftist Dominican Popular Movement (MPD) was planning to overthrow Dominican President Joaquin Balaguer. To thwart the coup, the U.S. Government had passed information on the MPD’s plans to the Dominican Government, which successfully frustrated a February 1969 attempt by the MPD to organize an armed uprising.

In October 1969, while recommending that support for Dominican internal security continue, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Francis Meloy also recommended shifting the responsibility for training and support activities to AID as part of AID’s Public Safety Program. While $58,000 in U.S. funding was initially set to phase out by June 30, 1970, it continued an additional year with $50,000 in matching AID funds.

In December 1970, concerned that U.S. funding would expire in June, Meloy warned that a sudden elimination of more than 50 percent of the DSO’s funding might lead to a serious decline in its ability to carry out counterinsurgency operations. Meloy recommended that the funding be retained at the same $58,000 level. The U.S. Government responded that while AID funding would continue, other U.S. funding would be discontinued as planned and the Dominican Government would have to absorb the remaining cost on its own. By May 1971, the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic indicated that plans to phase out AID Public Safety assistance were already underway and recommended periodical reviews of the Public Safety Program.