to Invade the Dominican Republic
U.S. Embassy - Havana
State Dispatch #4615. 839.00/12-1947]
THE FOREIGN SERVICE OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Red'd Dec. 29 No. 4615
Habana Cuba, December 19, 1947
The Secretary of State
Subject: Frustrated Plot to invade the Dominican
Republic Summer of 1947 (Continued).
Sir: I have the honor to refer to this Embassy's
4434 of October 17, 1947, reporting in acme details on the
attempt during the past summer to organize in Cuba an
invasion of the
Dominican Republic. As indicated in that despatch and
subsequent communications to the Department (see A 1035 of
1947) this Embassy has been endeavoring to obtain from the
authorities information as to the sources and quantities of
ammunition obtained by the revolutionists. Although
thus far no
information of this nature has been forthcoming from
the Embassy possesses fairly complete data on the vessels
and planes as
well as the personnel which were to be used in the
does not, however have detailed or definite information as
to the arms
and ammunition most of which were seized by the Cuban
authorities. Under these conditions and pending the
receipt from the Cuban authorities of more complete data, it
considered advisable to recapitulate this despatch
the Embassy's possession under the following headings: (1)
(2) ships, (3) planes, and (4) arms and ammunition.
Since reports are now being received that an effort is being
organize another attempt (possibly in Venezuela) to
Dominican dictator, it is thought that the Department and
missions concerned might find it useful to have an
alphabetical list of
the personnel of the revolutionary force formed last summer
Cuba. Such a list might prove particularly helpful in
view of the
possibility that certain of those who participated in the
may take part in another conspiracy. The enclosed
lists (Annexes I and II) have therefore been compiled.
every effort has been made to cross check various sources,
possible that some of the names are incorrectly
stated. Annex I
includes those revolutionary personnel who were arrested by
Army. In despatch No. 4434 of October 17 biographic
given concerning certain Cuban, Dominican and other key
figures in the
attempt. Their names are again listed without details
in Annex II.
Although at least eight vessels were to be used in
connection with the
attempt, only five reached the scene [unreadable] Cayo
As the Department well aware, LCI (landing craft infantry)
renamed Patria was detained at Baltimore by Customs
authorities at the
Department's request early in August 1947. Two PT
R-41 and R-42) which, according to the Naval Attache, and
purchased by the Cuban Navy some time before through private
in Mobile, Alabama, and which had apparently been promised
revolutionists, never left the Mariel Naval Base near
member of the expedition, J. L. WANGUEMERT y Maiquez,
writing in the
magazine Carteles of October 19, confirms that two PT boats
prepared at Mariel.) The ships which actually
participated in the
venture were: LCT Libertad, renamed Aurora; LCI No.
El Fantasma and Maximo Gomez; the Diesel "crash boat"
Berta; a small rented auxiliary schooner the Victoria; and
Dominican schooner Angelina, renamed the Maceo.
The following information is furnished regarding each of
1. The Aurora, according to the testimony of four
(see Embassy's despatch No. 4273 of August 14, 1947), sailed
York on July 9, 1947, and reached Nipe Bay about July
According to information furnished to the Treasury
by Miguel A. RAMIREZ, formerly doing business at 4 West
New York City, this unit had been purchased in 1946 in the
name of CRUZ
ALONSO, a Cuban who took a leading part in procuring vessels
for the expedition. This ship was seized by the Cuban
brought to Antilla about September 30, 1947. An aerial
showing the Aurora at Cayo Confites is enclosed (Enclosure
2. The Maximo Gomez (LCI 1006), according to testimony
Rupert Irwin Waddell, an American connected with the
questioned by our customs authorities in Miami on October 6,
United States from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on August
arrived at the Mariel Naval Base on August 29. At
and munitions were loaded and the ship sailed for Cayo
September 7. Like the Aurora, the Maximo Gomez was
seized by the
Cuban Navy and brought to Antilla about September 30, 1947.
3. The Berta, approximately 100 feet long with twin
Engines and described by our Naval reconnaissance as a
was used principally to ferry supplies and arms between
Cayo Confites. An officer of this Embassy who examined
at Nuevitas on December 11 ascertained that she is a United
aircraft rescue vessel (Navy Hull No. C-77421), built in
1944 by the
Ventnor Boat Works, Incorporated, Atlantic City, New
is equipped with a radio transmitter (Signal Corps, United
type BC-191, serial No. 118869). According to a report
in the Habana newspaper Alerta on September 30, one Jose
was the Captain of the Berta, which originally operated
Honduran flag. According to testimony before our
authorities at Miami on October 6 given by Thomas E. LAWYER,
American who participated in the attempt, a Captain SHERWOOD
brought the Maximo Gomez from Elizabeth City and who was
scheduled to command the Patria), made a trip to Guatemala
in the Berta
for the purpose of bringing back rifles. This boat was
procured from J. E. MAJORRIETA, a Cuban dealer in arms and
or for the account of CRUZ Alonso. An aerial
photograph of the
Berta is enclosed (Enclosure No. 3).
4. The Victoria, an auxiliary schooner of about
feet, was apparently chartered by the revolutionists and was
the first contingent of troops was moved from La Chive (Nipe
Cayo Confites. During this voyage the Victoria went
soldiers were drowned and the rest were rescued by the
This unit was apparently no used thereafter.
5. The ironclad Dominican schooner Agelina with a crew
was captured by the Maximo Gomez off Cayo Confites about
11. Equipped with a Diesel engine and about 120 feet
unit was renamed Maceo. She is now under Naval custody
Nuevitas and was seen there on December 11 by an officer of
Embassy who noted that her name had apparently been painted
That the plans of the revolutionists for air support were
indicated by the fact that they succeeded in bringing to
Cuba at least
sixteen aircraft. As the Department knows, a number of
planes were detained in the United States, including a J2F-6
Miami about August 9, a PB-4Y seized at Ponca City,
November 6, and a B-24 Liberator confiscated at Tulsa about
7. As reported in this Embassy's telegram No. 572 of
October 1, 3
p.m., full information, including photographs, was obtained
Treasury Representative in Habana, Mr. Joseph DILLON, and
that date to the customs agent at Miami regarding the twelve
confiscated by the Cuban Army and held at Campo Columbia
Airfield. Although Mr. Dillon was introduced by
to the Minister of State on August 25, at which time his
obtaining date regarding these planes was explained, it was
October 1 that through other channels he succeeded in
following twelve aircraft:
1. A B-24 Liberator which had landed at Rancho Boyeros
31, at 3:15 p.m., piloted by Chester H. PICKUP who
registered at the
Sevilla Biltmore Hotel here as "John Brown" of Rio de
This plane brought in cargo consisting of stretchers,
aircraft receivers, cartridge belts, rifle slings and other
miscellaneous military equipment which could readily have
purchased at any army and navy store.
2. Two Vega Venturas which were moved by the military
authorities from Rancho Boyeros to Campo Columbia on August
3. Six Lockheed P-38 type (F-5) aircraft. On
August 16, two
of these planes were observed at the Mariel Naval Base
field. On August 19 four of these planes were observed
field. On August 23 one arrived at Camp Columbia and
was moved to
Mariel on September 4. The sixth plane landed by
mistake at Camp
Columbia and was seized by the Cuban Army (Embassy's
telegram No. 504,
August 25). These planes were designed primarily for
photographic work and were not equipped with guns or bomb
arrival in Cuba.
4. Two B-25's (Mitchell bombers). On October 29
Treasury Representative (Dillon) observed that the Cuban
been painted on the wings of these planes. (Cuban
insignia are on
all planes now.)
5. One C-46A (Curtis Commando) transport.
In addition to the above-mentioned planes which were taken
over by the
Cuban Army and held at Campo Columbia, the revolutionists
following aircraft in Cuba:
Two Cessnas C-78 at the Anacra Field, Rancho Boyeros.
Two C-47's based at the Anacra Field, Rancho Boyeros; one of
(license NC-56001) crashed near Managua (Habana Province) on
because of motor trouble, and the other (license NC-66113)
confiscated by the Cuban Army at Santiago de Cuba when it
on September 5. According to information furnished
this office on
October 13 by Kenneth ROBINSON, an American pilot who had
position as instructor at this Anacra base, the
revolutionists also had
two Vultee BT-13's, one of which returned to the United
States and the
other was destroyed in an accident in Cuba.
However, only part of the air fleet with which the
expected to strike a paralyzing blow at Trujillo's air force
installations ever reached Cuba. According to Rolando
(Bohemia, October 12), the revolutionaries had bought eight
bombers but this Embassy can account for only three (two at
Columbia and another seized by the customs authorities at
October 15). Masferrer also stated that six Douglas
were to be used to carry 225 paratroopers, but of
only the two C-47's mentioned above apparently reached Cuba.
IV. ARMS AND AMMUNITION
Authoritative data on the origin and quantity of arms and
assembled in Cuba have not been released.
indicative information has appeared in one form or
example, the statements of three American citizens who were
the expeditionary force and in a position to observe (Hollis
Erwin Rupert WADDELL and Thomas LAWYER), the article by
Masferrer published in Bohemia on October 12, and other
material furnished a good deal of detailed information which
assembled and is summarized below.
In addition the Embassy has been able to obtain from a local
four photographs released by the Cuban Army at the time of
on September 20 of the arms stored at the farm "America"
No. 4382, September 26, 1947). Reproductions of these
have been made at the Embassy and three copies of each are
(Enclosures Nos. 4 to 7) together with explanatory
connection with these munitions, which at the time were
have filled thirteen trucks, it should be emphasized that
apparently to be used in the event that adequate equipment,
guns, gun mounts and bomb racks, could be obtained for the
planes. In short, the material at the farm, much of
apparently came from the Cuban Navy, was never actually
moved to the
scene of action.
It is clear from the photographs that the munitions on the
"America" were of United States origin. The ground
forces of the
expedition already had arms issued to them, or arms and
on board the vessels. These latter arms and munitions,
specific exceptions noted below, came, as far as can be
from sources other than the United States. the bulk of
arms, comprising 1,500 Mauser rifles and four million rounds
cartridges as well as the three-quarter million rounds of
cartridges, presumably came from Argentina.
The highest estimate regarding the number of rifles
available to the
revolutionaries was that of Lawyer who said that there were
from Argentina, 1,500 Springfields, and some others.
mentioned 1,500 rifles from Argentina which, according to
"similar to the Mauser-98". It is understood that all
indicating the origin of the rifles have been removed.
of the Springfields is unknown and the existence of such a
Springfields is seriously questioned.
As for rifle ammunition, according to Smith there were four
rounds for the Argentina model Mausers; Lawyer testified
were four million rounds aboard the Aurora. the Army
investigator informed the press on September 29 that two
of rifle ammunition had been found on board the
stated that one million rounds had been received from
There is photographic evidence that at the farm "America"
also a supply of U. S. armor-piercing 30-caliber cartridges
Enclosure No. 4).
(b) Machine guns
Masferrer reported that there were about 50 machine guns of
type manufactured in Argentina. According to Smith,
guns were of 7.65 caliber, an exact copy of the Masden and
Argentina. However, Smith later stated when he visited
Department on October 20 that they also resembled the German
Schmeizer. Lawyer's statement coincides with that of
viz. 50 of a German type manufactured in Argentina.
There was also a quantity of sub-machine guns. One
mentions 215 Thompsons. A Dominican exile on Cayo
reported to Embassy sources that of the troops on the Cayo
equipped with rifles and 200 with sub-machine guns.
supplies indicated that sub-machine guns were to be used
extensively. There was no mention of ammunition for
guns or automatic rifles. The Embassy does not know if
a difference in caliber between the machine guns and rifles,
but it is
presumed that the machine guns utilized the standard
ammunition of the
Mauser rifles, of which there was an ample supply.
stated that there were 775,000 rounds of 45-caliber
These could only have been for sub-machine guns and
Although some 45-caliber pistols were no doubt owned
members of the expedition, there were undoubtedly also
had been purchased in quantity. Our Military Attache
Glenn) reports that he has seen a late model 45-caliber Colt
pistol which was in the hands of the revolutionists.
(d) Automatic rifles
According to Masferrer, there were ten automatic rifles
which had been
obtained in Argentina. For a photograph of what
appears to be one
of these, see Enclosure No. 3 to this Embassy's despatch No.
October 17, 1947.
Masferrer stated that the revolutionaries had bought fifteen
in the United States. This estimate is supported by
made by the Cuban Army investigator on September 29 at which
said that fourteen bazookas were found on board the
According to Waddell, there were some 280 bazooka heads
which were to
be made into grenades. Lawyer testified that 300
were loaded by him and Smith.
Newspaper reports, e.g. Diario de la Marina on September 21,
the armaments seized at the Finca America indicated that
various sizes were found, including some weighing 300
Smith admitted that he had contracted to make as an
thirty-six bombs (twelve of 5, 10 and 25-pound size).
to information reported by a source of Lieutenant-Colonel S.
G-2, Third Army, mentioned in Ciudad Trujillo's despatch No.
August 19, 1947, the revolutionaries had some 300
stored in Habana. A photograph taken at the Finca
published in the Diario de la Marina on September 21, shows
cylindrical 325-pound depth bombs (see Enclosure No. 5) and
crates of fins. It is believed possible that these
by the Cuban Navy from stocks obtained during World War II.
According to Lawyer, some 2,000 pounds of dynamite were
Aurora when captured. This was confirmed by the Army
at a press conference on September 29 (El Mundo, September
Smith testified in August that he made 300 rockets for
These were flown to Mariel from Baltimore on August
16. Size and
description are lacking and there has been no mention of
Masferrer stated that the revolutionists had three Brandet
model 81 mm.
mortars, obtained from Argentina. J. L. Wanguemert y
Habana student who joined the expedition, confirms that
there was a
battery of three 81 mm. mortars (Carteles, October 19).
(j) Hand Grenades
Lawyer places the number of hand grenades at 2,000.
Masferrer, 1,000 had been bought in Argentina. Smith
20 stated that 200 had been acquired in the United
indicated above (see Bazookas), Waddell stated that some 250
heads were to be made into grenades. According to
5001-M of October 15, 1947, from Headquarters Third Army,
the hand grenades were "exceptionally good" and superior to
States make that he had handled or seen.
The army official investigating the case against the
stated on September 29 that several 37 mm. guns were seized
the Aurora. This was corroborated by information
Julio CESAR Martinez (U.P. despatch Habana, September
October 20 Smith said that the revolutionaries had three
anti-tank guns manufactured in the United States.
Masferrer, three such guns were installed by the Cuban Navy
As indicated in Enclosure No. 7, some 20 mm. anti-aircraft
were stored at the Finca America; however, the Embassy has
evidence that any 20 mm. guns were in the revolutionists'
Various photographs taken at Cayo Confites show that the
revolutionaries were equipped with metal helmets, apparently
same type as those used by our army during the past
Treasury Representative here (Dillon) on August 18
MATHEWS and Harold WEELER who said that they had brought by
fifty-three bags of army helmets from San Juan; that they
left San Juan
on August 15 in their own B-18 plans and claimed that the
been cleared by customs in Puerto Rico. Lawyer
Ramirez bought fifty helmets in New York.
According to Smith, some six to eight jeeps had been
purchased in New
York City. Reports from various sources indicate that
revolutionaries made liberal use of automotive vehicles
owned by the
Cuban Government. Two were furnished by Manolo CASTRO
Cuban Palace of Sports.
According to Smith, some 200 parachutes had been purchased
in New York
City (this checks with Masferrer's statement that some 225
men were to
be used as paratroopers), but there is no evidence that
delivered to Cuba.
Source of arms.....Did Peron Furnish arms?
There is a reasonable amount of evidence to support the
a large part of the arms used by the expeditionary force, as
in the above summary, was manufactured in Argentina.
point Masferrer, in an article published in the weekly
on October 12, made the following statements (translation):
"Not being too successful in the United States, the
turned to a friendly country. Through it two
went to Buenos Aires and interviewed President Peron.
arms in the belief that they were going to aid a government
North American imperialism. What is more, there was
$350,000 to pay for all the equipment acquired in Argentina
President Peron paid this from his secret funds. When
discovered that the arms would be utilized against Trujillo,
to send him a larger quantity of arms so that he could
himself. For this he took advantage of the opportunity
inauguration in Santo Domingo through the Argentina mission
represented him and sent it as a gift. This happened
on August 17
last (note: this latter apparently did not
occur). The arms
made available to us were 1,500 rifles, 50 machine guns of a
type manufactured in Argentina, 10 machine rifles, three
Brandet model 81 mm. 1,000 hand grenades, 1,000,000 rifle
775,000 45-caliber cartridges for the machine guns, all of
taken to a secure part in Central America. A new
effort in the
United States made it possible to acquire 15 bazookas, some
and pistols, as well as some Springfields and Brownings."
Although in the above revelation Masferrer merely stated
that the "arms
had been brought to a more secure port in Central America",
he was more
specific when interviewed following his return from Cayo
Confites. According to a reporter of the daily
Libre (October 5):
"Masferrer is convinced that the arms of the expedition were
Guatemala from Argentina on the pretext that they would be
used in an
anti-imperialist movement. Guatemala delivered the
condition that after the defeat of Trujillo the movement
directed against Somoza and Carias. This operation was
out through Arevelo and Cruz Alonso, a Cuban who went to
that purpose." (Felix Buenaventura Sanchez and
Valle, two members of the expedition, told the press stories
confirm the above; see notes to Enclosure 1 to despatch No.
According to the Havana Post on October 5, Masferrer stated
Guatemala had offered to purchase the arms. It will be
that Lawyer told our customs authorities on October 6 that
the arms had
come from Guatemala because he knew "some of the boys who
went to get
them", including five Dominicans and Captain Sherwood.
Although an Associated Press despatch from Guatemala on
stated that Guatemala's Foreign Office had denied the report
had been furnished to the revolutionists by the Guatemalan
there would appear to be good reason to suspect that
involved. In this connection reference is also made to
Embassy's despatch No. 4503 of November 7, 1947, in which it
pointed out that the list of telephone numbers found on
Cuban Director of Sports, at the time of his arrest at Miami
September 29 included the Guatemalan Legation in Habana.
I believe the Department will agree that the above summary
the revolutionists had collected an impressive army of war
material. Such an illicit accumulation in improper
hands is in
itself a dangerous thing. In the present instance, the
such arms against another country would have brought
consequences. Moreover, had the Cuban Army not seized
their clandestine existence in Cuba during an election year
best have been a constant threat to domestic peace and
Lester D. Mallory,
Charge d'Affaires a.i.
Enclosures (in triplicate except No. 1):
1. List of personnel, Annexes I and II .. Annex II
2. Photograph of Aurora
3. Photograph of Berta
4. Photograph of 30-caliber cartridge boxes
5. Photograph of depth bombs
6. Photograph of depth bombs
7. Photograph of 20 mm. ammunition
File No. 800
Note: The drafting officer acknowledges with
assistance of L. D. Mallory, Charge d'Affaires a.i.; Colonel
Glenn, Military Attache; Colonel B. C. Batterton, Naval
Attache; c. W.
Moore, Attache; and V. L. Collins, Second Secretary.
Copies to American Embassies at Caracas, Ciudad Trujillo,
Buenos Aires, Guatemala and Port-au-Prince.
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