810.20 Defense/10–1045

The Ambassador in the Dominican Republic ( McGurk ) to the Secretary of State

No. 382

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter dated September 8, 1945 (received October 2) from Lieutenant General George H. Brett, Commanding the Caribbean Defense Command and the Panama Canal Department, with which was transmitted a copy of the report21 covering the Army Phase of the Staff Conversations held with the Dominican authorities in Ciudad Trujillo August 7 to August 11, 1945. I also enclose a copy of my letter of October 5, 1945 to General Brett22 acknowledging the receipt of this report.

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One observation I should like to stress is that apparently our Army officers have gone on the assumption that the present force of the Dominican Army (not including Navy and Air Force personnel), with a slight decrease of say three to four hundred men is the necessary figure on which to build a defensive unit. Although I am not at all schooled in military affairs I seriously question whether the present number of men in the Dominican Army, with a slight decrease, is the required force for such a program. If this is an arbitrary figure, why could not the figure of 3,000 down to 1,800 men be set as the one on which to build a defensive force? Of course the setting of any such arbitrary figure must be considered with the figure set in the Republic of Haiti.

In considering the needs for an army sufficiently large to maintain internal security while protecting the frontiers of the Dominican [Page 985] Republic, consideration should be given to what appears to be an abnormally large national police force which is maintained in this Republic along parallel lines with the Army. The budget for the National Police for 1945 was $668,385.

In view of the fact that these Bilateral Staff Conversations covered by the report under reference are purely exploratory and involve no commitment of any kind, I believe that very careful consideration should be given in the Department from the political angle to any overture to carry out or implement these conversations in a practical way, the implication being that implementation would indicate support of the present regime. My recommendation is that any such action be deferred so long as the present dictatorship lasts. As stated above, consideration of this viewpoint must parallel that with respect to the Republic of Haiti. In this recommendation all of the members of the Embassy staff are in agreement.

However, in the event that for political reasons which in the end must be paramount, some commitment must be made to this present Government, it is recommended that such commitment be limited to a training battalion of some five or six hundred men and equipment therefor, mentioned as one of the organizational units in the report under reference.

There are enclosed a copy of a memorandum dated October 5, 1945 from Lieutenant Colonel Roger Willock, U.S. Marine Corps, Naval Attaché to this Embassy, and a copy of a memorandum dated October 6, 1945 from Major Thomas D. Burns, U.S. Army, Military Attaché to this Embassy,23 setting forth their recommendations and opinions with regard to Army report.

Respectfully yours,

J. F. McGurk
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Neither memorandum printed.