221. Telegram From the Embassy in the Dominican Republic to the Department of State1

941. Subject: Meeting With President Balaguer: Politics and the Elections. Ref Santo Domingo 931.2

1. In meeting with President Balaguer reported reftel, I informed the President that I planned to depart soon for the COM conference in Washington and expected that our mutual friend, Assistant Secretary Todman, would inquire about him and his election plans. Balaguer asked that I convey his warmest regards to Todman. He continued that he saw no alternative to his becoming a candidate again. His own party had not produced any strong candidates and the calibre of opposition candidates was worse. He decried the divisions within several opposition parties and their inability to find unity among them. He attributed this unfortunate state of affairs to the lengthy Trujillo dictatorship and the deep divisions that led up to the events of 1965.

2. When I inquired regarding his running mate for the Vice Presidency as a means of ensuring his policies should he be elected and be unable to fulfill his term, Balaguer launched into what is becoming a favorite theme: one cannot impose a successor on the people. The Presidency is not an inherited office, he continued, and therefore a President, if he is to govern successfully, must emerge from the society itself; otherwise, an “imposed” President risked being toppled easily, with all the ensuing consequences of instability. When I asked whether he thought the situation would be different four years hence, Balaguer replied that he thought the next four years would witness considerable political ferment out of which he expected new political leadership to arise. He said that were he to continue as President, he would place no obstacles in the way of an emerging leader. He thought the PRD had an important role to play, had considerable strength in several parts of the country, and could even win the elections. “People are fickle,” he concluded.

3. Comment. It is reasonable to assume that Balaguer will run again3 and that his Vice Presidential candidate will either be Goico [Page 531] Morales (present incumbent) or a similar candidate who has no Presidential ambition.

4. The President is being disingenuous in his observations regarding lack of leadership in the parties and divisions among the opposition. His own authoritarian manner has discouraged real leadership within his party and his well known tactic of wooing certain opposition leaders has in part been responsible for opposition division.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780073–1104. Confidential.
  2. In telegram 931 from Santo Domingo, February 16, the Embassy reported on Hurwitch’s meeting with Balaguer. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780073–0957)
  3. Telegram 1135 from Santo Domingo, February 28, reported that Balaguer formally indicated he would run for another term. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780093–0162)