280. Telegram 718 From the Embassy in the Dominican Republic to the Department of State1 2

[Page 1]


  • Kidnapping of Air Attache—SITREP No. 13

1. Archbishop Polanco Brito telephoned Embassy morning March 26 to inform us that firm agreement has now been reached between GODR and kidnappers.

2. According info received partly from Polanco Brito and partly from police chief, prisoners, who are now collected at National Police palace in Santo Domingo, will be verified by Mexican Embassy First Secretary and then convoyed to airport. Crowley will about this same time be turned over to intermediary at location unknown as yet for delivery to Mexican Embassy residence. When crowley arrives at residence, GODR authorities at airport will be informed and aircraft will then be permitted depart for Mexico City. It is our understanding as of now that agreement provides that Crowley will remain at Mexican Embassy for period of 10 hours after aircraft departs. Prisoners will be transported to Mexico City via PAA charter flight which GODR hopes can depart Santo Domingo approximately 3 p.m.

[Page 2]

3. Comando issued communique no. 9 at mid-morning confirming that agreement reached to exchange prisoners for Crowley. Communique said Crowley would be released provided Mexican Embassy guarantees safe departure and asylum but added commando had never agreed that Crowley be released to Mexican Embassy. Commando said Crowley will be released somewhere in downtown area into custody of priest selected by mediation commission at such time as prisoners aboard aircraft and it ready to leave.

4. Commission member Kasse Acta said publicly that 20 prisoners would be taken to Mexican Embassy at 2 p.m. March 26 and then escorted to airport for immediate boarding. He added that Crowley would then be released to Mexican Embassy.

5. While we do have these conflicting reports of exact details of Crowley release and to whom, there do not appear to be fundamental differences and we remain hopeful that exchange will be accomplished in course of afternoon.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 DOM REP. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated to USCINCSO and USCINCLANT for POLADS, OSI District 27, DIA, USAFFLDACTYGP Ft. Belvoir, VA, and Mexico City. In Telegram 733 from Santo Domingo, March 27, Ambassador Meloy reported that Crowley had been released and that he had arrived at the Embassy at 2140 hours, March 26. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 783, Country Files, Latin America, Kidnapping in Dominican Republic)
  2. The Embassy reported that the Government of the Dominican Republic had reached an agreement with Lieutenant Colonel Crowley’s kidnappers to free him in exchange for 20 prisoners.