- Balaguer Intermediary Seeks Department Views
1. Ramon Castillo telephoned Department from Santo Domingo October 21 seeking appointment with Deputy Assistant Secretary Crimmins. Told Crimmins would be in Europe until November 6, Castillo requested meeting “in two or three days” with Alfonso Arenales, former political officer in Santo Domingo and now Deputy Director INR/RAA.
2. Castillo and his former manservant/bodyguard (now resident in New York) arrived unannounced at Arenales’ office at noon October 26. Six hours later, following brief courtesy call on Deputy Assistant Secretary Hurwitch, they left to return to New York. Castillo was then undecided on whether to return to Santo Domingo or to proceed onward to Tokyo.
3. Castillo’s presentation boiled down to following:
While conversing with Balaguer on October 18, President remarked Castillo had not been in Washington for some time and suggested he “visit his friends in Department” on return to his post in Tokyo. President said he would be interested in learning current Department thinking about his government, with particular reference to manner in which he conducting his administration. Balaguer also [Page 2] wished learn what Department thought of opposition developing among “certain sectors of oligarchy” to agrarian reform and unspecified other measures. Castillo said Balaguer understands that Luis Amiama Tio and unspecified others have, through unidentified third parties, made known to Department their view that Balaguer’s reelection to a third term would bring chaos to Dr. Castillo indicated Balaguer’s interest in learning if this had in fact taken place, and if so what Department thought of such views.
4. Arenales said while he could not speak for Department he knew of nothing that might have changed Department’s favorable view of Balaguer and his administration. Arenales stressed that he could not and would not address reelection issue which, as Castillo aware, is an entirely separate subject. Castillo said he realized this and that he did not believe Balaguer had intended for him to explore sentiment on this issue. He said Balaguer rather sought Department’s reaction to “oligarchy’s” criticism of his administration. Arenales said he would convey Castillo’s account of Balaguer’s concerns to Messrs. Crimmins and Hurwitch, and (at Castillo’s insistence) that President might receive message through Embassy after Crimmins’ return from Europe.
5. Castillo had prefaced his presentation by stating that Balaguer has deep respect for Department’s views and would not wish conduct his administration in opposition to or without seriously considering these views. He recalled previous instances in which Balaguer had responded to Dept’s suggestions, e.g., the La Banda affair last year.
6. Before departing, Castillo made short courtesy call on Deputy Assistant Secretary Hurwitch, whom Arenales had not repeat not had opportunity to brief. Castillo stated Balaguer’s pleasant memory of Hurwitch’s visit to DR. Hurwitch asked Castillo to convey to Balaguer his deep respect and admiration for President personally and for manner in which he has conducted his government. Hurwitch asked Castillo also to convey to Balaguer his wishes for President’s continued success over remainder of his term.[Page 3]
7. After leaving Hurwitch’s office, Castillo appeared agree with Arenales that Hurwitch had, in effect, addressed all of Balaguer’s concerns and that further communication on this occasion was unnecessary. Castillo left undecided on whether to return immediately to Santo Domingo to report to Balaguer.
8. Castillo also ranged conversationally over territory within his consular jurisdiction which, he said, includes all SE Asia. He told of three visits to Saigon, during which he had met with Ambassador Bunker, who invited him to July 4 reception. He showed picture of them toasting each other at reception. Castillo said Ambassador Bunker spoke warmly of Santo Domingo and of Balaguer. He said Ambassador Bunker told him that if President Nixon is re-elected, he would recommend to the President that he invite Balaguer to visit him in Washington. Castillo said he conveyed Ambassador Bunker’s sentiments to Balaguer. He then showed (and left with) Arenales a copy of letter dated June 13, 1972 from Balaguer to Ambassador Bunker. Letter simply stated Balaguer’s high regard for Ambassador Bunker, thanked him for his kind words and wished him well.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 DOM REP. Confidential. Drafted by Arenales; cleared for information by Burke; and approved by Hurwitch. Repeated to Santo Domingo and Saigon.↩
- Ramon Castillo visited INR/RAA Deputy Director Alfonso Arenales to ascertain Department of State views on President Balaguer’s agrarian reform and his possible reelection to a third term. Arenales indicated that he was unaware of any changes in the Department’s favorable view of the Balaguer administration.↩