279. Telegram 43508 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Dominican Republic1 2

[Page 1]

For Ambassador

1. You should deliver following private message from President Nixon to Balaguer immediately:

“I fully recognize and am deeply sympathetic with the enormous problem that you face in complying with the arbitrary conditions for the freedom of Lt. Col. Donald Crowley imposed by his kidnappers. Because there is a human life immediately at stake, I urge you nonetheless, for the sake of that life, to agree to their terms.

“I am confident that in making this decision you would have the full support of all Dominicans of good will.

Richard M. Nixon”

2. You are also authorized to get across to leading military elements, by means you consider most effective, the vital importance to us that every measure possible [Page 2] be taken to save Col. Crowley’s life, which is the one immediately at stake. You should follow the line taken in the President’s message and that which you employed with Balaguer early this morning.

3. We assume you are taking action on the suggested parallel appeals from the Nuncio (and the Diplomatic Corps if possible) and Bishop Polanco Brito.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 DOM REP. Confidential; Exdis, Flash. Drafted by Crimmins and Hurwitch; cleared by Hawley, Vaky, and Johnson; and approved by Crimmins. In telegram 709 from Santo Domingo, March 25, Ambassador Meloy indicated that he had delivered President Nixon’s message to Balaguer. According to Meloy, he told Balaguer “that it was not intended that President Nixon’s letter to him be made public.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 783, Country Files, Latin America, Kidnapping in Dominican Republic)
  2. The Department of State instructed Ambassador Meloy to deliver a private message from President Nixon urging President Balaguer to agree to the terms of the terrorists who had kidnapped Lieutenant Colonel Crowley.