286. Telegram 1893 From the Embassy in the Dominican Republic to the Department of State1 2

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  • Terrorism in the Dominican Republic

1. After lunch at the residence July 28, I drew Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, General Perez y Perez, aside for private conversation. I asked first “what is La Mano”? Perez y Perez replied with story we have heard though MAAG and attaches that La Mano was fictitious organization created by attaches to frighten leftists by distributing handbills. Military had been startled to find shortly thereafter handbills signed “La Mano” for which they were not responsible distributed in Santiago. Perez y Perez agreed with my suggestion other rightest elements might have seized upon “La Mano” and were attempting to exploit it.

2. I took the occasion to express to the General my deep concern over what appeared to be a planned program of terrorism and counterterrorism at present in the Dominican Republic. I told him I recognized the appeal of what appeared to be the “simple solution” to eliminate the leaders of the extreme left. I emphasized this was in fact no “solution” at all, but the beginning of deeper and more dangerous problems. In no country where it had been tried had such a course of action proved to be a “solution”. The result inevitably led to counter-terror, to an increasingly repressive regime whose repression could only alienate the general population and, by unravelling the social and political fabric of the country, create the conditions for a disastrous upheaval.

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3. The General replied that he was exerting his influence to achieve moderation and restraint on the part of the armed forces, but that order must be maintained. I agreed that order is essential for continuing progress but emphasized that a policy that sought to maintain order by the systematic elimination of opposition leaders could only prepare the way for a worsening of the situation which could lead to a disaster.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–8 DOM REP. Confidential.
  2. In a discussion with Secretary of State for the Armed Forces General Pérez y Pérez regarding an apparently planned program of terrorism and counter-terrorism, Ambassador Meloy discouraged him from taking repressive actions that might alienate the Dominican population.