236. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Dominican Republic1

186835. Subject: Guzman’s Plans To Confront Dominican Military. Ref: Santo Domingo 40062 (Exdis).

1. We share President-elect Guzman’s concern over the recent appointment of Major Gen. Neit Nivar—apparently the main instigator of May 17 military intervention in the elections—as Commander of the strategic First Brigade.

2. The Ambassador is authorized to assure Guzman, as recommended by Embassy, that the USG continues unequivocally to support the unimpeded carrying out of the democratic process in the Dominican Republic.

3. At the same time, we would appreciate Embassy’s assessment ASAP of the probable reaction of Generals Nivar and Beauchamp, as well as the reaction of other key officers of the Dominican armed forces, if Guzman carries out his stated intention to sack Nivar and Beauchamp after his inauguration. We would also appreciate Embassy’s views on ability of Guzman administration to govern effectively under new laws pushed through Congress during past week and to rescind the legislation.

4. Unless you perceive objections, the Ambassador should also request a meeting with President Balaguer to raise issues of possible threat to a successful democratic transition in the D.R. posed by Nivar’s command of the First Brigade. Such an approach would probably be most effective if placed in context that we share what we are confident is Balaguer’s own desire for the success of the first peaceful and constitutional transfer of power in the Dominican Republic in this century.3

5. Provided you concur, you should make the same point to Balaguer that you made to Guzman, and stress in the manner you consider [Page 552] most appropriate our belief that any reversal of the democratic process would have the most serious effects not only on U.S.-Dominican bilateral relations but also on the Dominican economy, the welfare of the Dominican people, and Balaguer’s own place in history.

6. We would hope that such an approach, if successful, might also help deter Balaguer to some extent from ramming through further lame-duck initiatives that will make it more difficult for Guzman to govern, and possibly threaten the success of democracy in the D.R.4

7. We would appreciate Embassy views on anything further USG might do to promote our interests in the democratic process in the D.R., including possible inclusion of a statement similar to assurances given Guzman (para 2 above) in arrival statement of Secretary Vance for Guzman’s inauguration.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780304–0075. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by de Santillana; cleared by Shelton, Griffith, Miller, and in S/S; approved by Vaky.
  2. In telegram 4006 from Santo Domingo, July 21, the Embassy reported Guzman’s concerns about Balaguer’s post-election maneuvers, notably Nivar’s continued high-profile presence in the military. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780302–0272)
  3. In telegram 4075 from Santo Domingo, July 26, Yost reported on his meeting with Guzman, when he explained the dangers of firing Nivar, which could lead to discontent within the military. Yost presented intelligence that stated that other officers in the military would work to restrain rogue generals. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780306–0981)
  4. Telegram 4158 from Santo Domingo, July 28, reported Yost’s meeting with Balaguer that day to express the “continued U.S. concern about the current activities of his regime.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780310–1134)
  5. In telegram 4138 from Santo Domingo, July 28, the Embassy reported that Guzman visited several high-ranking military leaders and received assurances of their loyalty. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780312–0082) In telegram 4116 from Santo Domingo, July 27, the Embassy reported that other senior officials in the government, including Foreign Minister Jimenez, privately expressed discontent with Balaguer’s campaign to weaken Guzman, and many of Balaguer’s initiatives to restructure the government would not be pursued. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780310–0676)