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Cayo Confites:
Plot to Invade the Dominican Republic
Am Embassy Report 4434

[Reference: State Department Report 4434 dated 17 October 1947]

[NOTE: The original report contained some errors in spelling of names.  The names were left as in the original report unless indicated in brackets]


17 OCTOBER 1947



The Honorable
The Secretary of State,
Washington, D. C.


I have the honor to submit information gathered by this Embassy on an unsuccessful attempt to organize the invasion of the Dominican Republic during the summer of 1947, and the extent to which Cuban authorities were involved–as well as our own implication.

This plan to stage an amphibious and air attack, using modern war tactics and equipment, had a fair chance of success.  The preliminary plans for the invasion were carried out with sufficient efficiency to assure the revolutionaries of plentiful quantities of modern arms and munitions, fast planes, and a small but willing invasion force.

However, bad staff work, divided leadership, overwhelming personal ambitions and an untimely Cuban political crisis doomed the project to failure.

The scale of the attempt to overthrow President TRUJILLO, the almost open preparations during the Rio Conference, and the patent disregard of several governments for the Habana convention, have best been described as "this incredible venture."

An E. Phillips Oppenheim could do the story justice, but even this factual account, minus the alarums and side issues, presents a worthy parallel to the old tales of filibustering in the Caribbean..  Many of the important facts, especially the involvement of governments and the reasons for some events, will only come to light with the passage of time, and can only be given now in speculative form.

Current developments were reported to the Department during the months of July, August and September 1947 by frequent detailed cables.  This dispatch is confined to the principal features of the attempt.  Notes on the personalities involved are given as an enclosure.  Information on the material of the invasion forces is being sought and will be submitted subsequently.  So far as possible, this dispatch is written objectively and without bias.

Origin of the Attempt

The inception of the attempt goes back several years.  Specifically it stems from the organization in Habana, Cuba, in 1941, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party.  Its raison d'etre was the rise to power of Trujillo some 17 years ago and the continuance of his regime.  Very broadly its "intellectual" background (as the word is used in the Caribbean) is the fetish of revolution which is frequently manifest in feverish form.

Increasing numbers of Dominican political exiles formed ______ of dissatisfaction years ago.  Leadership by a few men made them into units of resistance to Trujillo.  Formation of the Dominican Revolutionary Party in 1941 had two avowed purposes: the establishment of a democratic regime in the Dominican Republic, and active cooperation for the triumph of the United Nations in the late war.  The Party was organized in sectional form in Cuba (Habana, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo); in the United States (New York); in Mexico (Mexico City); in Venezuela (Caracas) and in Puerto Rico (San Juan and Mayaguez).  Its leaders at that time included several who were recently prominent.  They were: Dr. J. I. JIMENEZ CRULLON, Dr. Ramon DE LARA, Juan BOSCH, Dr. Romano PAREZ CABRAL, Angel AIOLAN, Dr. Luis F. MEJIA.  The objects, doctrine and statutes of the organization were drawn up, and far as known continued to the present, although in 1943 the Habana branch operated under the name of the Dominican Anti-Nazi Democratic Union.

It was apparently realized that no overt attempt would be made to change the Dominican Government while the war was on.  However, attempts to drum up sympathy and fervor continued through the years.  A good job of public relations work must be granted, not a little aided by growing international resentment of Trujillo and his methods.  Installation of sympathetic governments in the Caribbean was also important.  These included Cuba, Venezuela and Guatemala.  The Peruvian Government was also sympathetic, largely through the influence of its Ambassador here who has lived in Cuba many years as an exiled Aprista and who on several occasions struck the key note of the whole mentality when he argued that the violation of a few inter-American treaties was nothing compared with the importance of establishing a democracy.  The revolutionaries were active and their operations took such open form as broadcasts from the Cuban radio station CMQ.  These broadcasts from the Cuban radio station were made by Juan Bosch.  He, over the years, appears to have been the most energetic and to have done most to further the cause through newspaper writing, books, articles, broadcasting and general intrigue.

It has been noted that trouble among the leadership existed.  Although by 1944 the organization and the party appeared to be fairly solid, there had been lack of coordination and leaders followed their own course wherever they might be.  Matters reached a point where the leaders laid aside other activities and buried their differences to hold the scattered exiled groups together.  This early fault later spelled doom to the invasion attempt.  Lack of discipline and an ineffective chain of command proved fatal.

By 1944 the party felt sufficiently strong to predict that as soon as the war was over an armed revolution would take place in the Dominican Republic.  Juan Bosch then indicated that in the Republic itself the United Front was complete and ready, that they counted on aid and arms from elements of the Dominican Army.  It was stated further that a considerable quantity of arms was stored in another Latin American country.  Members of the Revolutionary Party outside the Republic would participate in the revolution.

That the organization and activities of the Revolutionary Party were strong and promised to be effective is revealed by the files of the period.  Trujillo was described as frightened and worried.  One significant despatch may be mentioned (Ciudad Trujillo No. 4, June 6, 1944) which in summary stated that President Trujillo was pleased at Dr. Grau's election in Cuba because he did not like Batista.  This dislike was apparently caused by President Batista's failure is curb political activities of certain Dominican exiles.  Grau's ascendancy to the Presidency was no alleviation, because these activities continued.  Juan Bosch became secretary to Senator Carlos PRIO SOCARRAS, and a Dominican Freedom Committee was formed in the Cuban Congress under Eddy CHIBAS, then the mouthpiece of Grau.  The two vice presidents of this organization were Autentico Senator Tony VARONA, still very close to President Grau, and Alejo COSSIO del Pino, now Minister of the Interior.  Bosch was able to see Grau frequently, and apparently on intimate terms.  Others must have been active, but progress was well exemplified by the activities of Bosch, which were well reported.  President Lescat of Haiti is said to have mortgaged his home and to have given Bosch $25,000.  Romulo BETANCOURT, President of the Venezuelan Revolutionary Junta, an old friend of Bosch, invited him to that country where plans were laid.

The Revolutionary Party grew strongest in Habana.  While other centers aided and abetted, leaders in Cuba appeared to be most effective.  This cannot all be attributed to the local directors so much as to the fertile ground in which the plant was cultivated.  Trujillo is reported to have placed agents within the party to keep informed.  Habana remains the principal center up to the present.

Preparations Made.

With the end of the war, final plans for a revolt could be laid.  One very favorable circumstance was present.  The countries in and bordering the Caribbean had grown rich during the conflict.  Much money was available from generous sources.  But cash, while the touchstone of such an attempt, was not enough.  Trujillo had built up his defenses and arms were needed.  During1946 it became possible to foresee that ample armament supplies would become available from war surplus not too tightly controlled in the United States, and from lend-lease equipment in friendly countries.  And so it was.  Juan RODRIGUEZ GARCIA, wealthy Dominican landowner exiled late in the game, made available a reported $600,000.  Other money followed.

By January 1947, leaders of the movement meeting in Venezuela indicated that preparations for an invasion were under way.  It was stated at that time (Caracas despatch No. 9694, January 28, 1947) "that the delay in starting it before this time was no doubt due to procurement difficulties and desire to see that no detail was overlooked which might endanger success."  There was ample warning that something was afoot and in February the President of Haiti was concerned and feared that an attempt on the Dominican Republic would in one manner or another involve Haiti, which would suffer.   Report had it that the revolutionaries already had considerable quantities of small arms, a few aircraft, three vessels, etc.  Subsequent developments showed that they had no such quantities of material, but that they had no such quantities of material, but that they were actively seeking armament was clearly shown in March, the following month, when the FBI ascertained that Dominican exiles were purchasing arms in New York for use in a revolution.  In April, it was alleged that two B-18 aircraft had been flown to Cuba from the United States for the use of revolutionaries.  These planes did not subsequently appear and the report was undoubtedly false.

Most people appeared to have forgotten about an invasion of the Dominican Republic during June and the first half of July because of the diversional interest of a threatened invasion of Venezuela.  Rumors of increasing preparations in the Dominican Republic for an armed invasion against the Government of Romulo Betancourt so dominated thinking about the Caribbean theater that first reports from Cuba of an imminent invasion of the Dominican Republic were discounted or looked upon as a possible smoke screen for the Venezuelan affair.

Final Preparations and Disaster-A Chronology

July 1-15
Information which during this period care to the attention of the Embassy indicated that an attempt towards an invasion of the Dominican Republic was rapidly taking shape within Cuba.  Efforts were made to verify rumors and reports and it became clear that they were well founded.

July 10.
Act drafted electing a Dominican Central Revolutionary Committee by Juan Rodriguez Garcia, Rolando MASFERRER, Angel MORALES, Eufemio FERNANDEZ, Manuel CALDERON, Jose R. ALFORSECA, Enrique C. HENRIQUEZ, Gregorio GARCIA, Feliciano MADERNE, Aristides SARABIA, Virginio MAINARSE, Rafael MAINARDI, Alexis LIZ, Luis CASTILLO, Manuel DEL CASTRO, Luis W. BORDAS, Cruz ALONSO and Antonio MORALES.

July 13.
Act of Acceptance agreed among Messrs.  Rodriguez Garcia, Angel Morales, Bosch, Jimenez Crullon, and Leovigildo Cuello to serve as the Central Revolutionary Committee, They considered it their duty to "bring about in the Dominican Republic an armed revolution, the immediate purpose of which shall be the overthrow of the tyranny of Rafael L. Trujillo and the establishment of a revolutionary government which shall organize the life of the Dominican people on the basis of political and economic liberty and social justice and which shall collaborate in the struggle for the establishment of democracy in all countries of America."

Act of Constitution of Central Committee signed by members of Committee.

July 15.
Statutes of Central Revolutionary Committee adopted by members.

July 17.
Minimum Program and Constitutional Statutes of the Revolutionary Government voted and signed by members of Dominican Central Revolutionary Committee: Morales, Rodriguez, Bosch, JIMENEZ Crullon, and Cuello.

Ambassador Norweb, during a cal on the foreign Minister, mentioned that there were many reports that Cuba was being used at the base for revolutionary activity.  The Minister stated that, though he had heard such rumors, Cuban authorities had investigated and there were no preparations or arms.

July 19
Information sent to the Department indicated men were assembling in eastern Cuba.  The Minister of foreign Affairs maintained he was still unaware that anything was happening.

July 24.
Additional information submitted showing Director General Sports of the General Directorate of Sports, Ministry of Education assisting in recruitments.

The same day a telegram from Consul STORY at Santiago de Cuba stated that forces were assembling at Antilla and that high Cuban Government officials were involved.

July 25
Embassy investigations revealed that the revolution had available six airplanes, including two Lockheed Vega Ventura bombers, two Cessna C-78's, and two Douglas C-47's.  It was rumored also that a larger bomber, a B-24, was expected.  It was apparent by this time that recruiting was going on openly, that men were being taken to eastern Cuba and that a number of Government personalities were involved.  The matter was rapidly becoming an open secret.

At this time unexpected publicity occurred.  Two members of the revolutionary forces, recruited in Puerto Rico, deserted, made their way to Miami, and talked to the press.

July 26.
Press reports of the invasion army permitted the Dominican Government to make charges; which it did.  The Dominican Ambassador in Washington stated that a 3000-man army of Communist revolutionaries was poised in Cuba to invade the Dominican Republic.  It was quite clear that President Trujillo had his sources of intelligence working.  It was assumed, both by the Embassy and the revolutionaries, that spies had been planted in the revolutionary ranks.  It may be mentioned at this time that while the Dominican Government knew in general what was going on, it made many statements which were quite incorrect, naming names and places.  Viewing the matter in retrospect, it must be said that their intelligence was much poorer than had been believed.

July 26-27.
At this time a decisive turn of events took place.  The open manner of recruitment, transport of men in Cuban Government trucks, the general activity which was taking place, made a great many people aware of what was going on.  The "revelations" carried in the Miami, Florida press, and the charges of the Dominicans made some action necessary.  It was learned by the Embassy that the Chief of the Cuban Army had become concerned over the number of armed men in eastern Cuba, who could easily create a threat to domestic tranquility.  The Chief of Staff was reported to have given the revolutionaries a short time to leave Cuba or to be disbanded.  Vigorously, preparations went forward.  The Habana press, with one exception, did not carry the stories from Miami and as far as the local newspapers were concerned, the attempt had never been reported.

The Ambassador, in response to instructions, saw the Foreign Minister on July 27 and stated that it was hoped that no action would occur which would disturb the peace of the Western Hemisphere.  The Minister admitted that the Government was aware of what was occurring, and that the Government was following activities in order to prevent any abuse of hospitality.  Significantly, it also appeared that he had exchanged telegrams with the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic.  This he subsequently denied to the press.

July 26.
The invasion scare was now really on.  Vessels were at Nipe Bay, men were being transported from the training ground at Holquin to Antilla, vessels ready to participate.  It was stated that President Grau gave the movement until July 30 to leave Cuba.  Money was being gathered by Mario SALABARRIA, Chief of Special Investigations Section of the National Police, and others.  Estimates of the number won went up 5,000.  The Foreign Minister was playing hide-and-seek with the Ambassador.

The Ambassador saw President Grau, who told him that measurer would be taken.  To remove any revolutionary activity from Cuba.

July 29-30.

The Departure of Vessels from Antilla was reported in the press.  It was popularly assumed either that the effort had been suppressed or that the invasion was taking place.  Naval Base at Guantanamo, which had been making observations, lost track of the vessels.  The Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Chief of Police and Juan Bosch denied reports that revolutionaries were being trained in Cuba.

August 1.
A B-24 aircraft, which had arrived at Rancho Boyeros on July 31, was seized by the Cuban Army, and, together with the two Lockheed Vega Venturas, was removed to the Army field at Camp Columbia.

August 2-3.
Intelligence began to pour in from all sides, including Venezuela and Haiti.  The Caribbean at last seemed to be convinced that something was afoot.  The Dominican Government stated that the invasion was on its way.

August 4-13.
During this period a lull took place, due largely to a lack of concrete information.  It appeared to the Embassy that the attempted invasion definitely was not off because preparations continued.  Assassination of Alfonso FOLS, reportedly an agent of Trujillo, was attempted in Habana on August 5.  The Cuban Government endeavored to obtain release of an LCI proved to be a considerable hindrance to the revolutionaries.  It is also known that disunity of command had grown, that there were fears about the United States' attitude, and that something would have to be done fairly soon.  It was apparent from investigations of the FBI and Customs services of the United States that attempts to obtain aircraft were continuing.

August 11.
The Ambassador received from the British Minister a copy of a deposition made by four British
Minister a copy of a deposition made by four British seamen (Embassy's secret despatch No. 4270, August 14, 1947).  This deposition provided some of the first documentary evidence of just what had been happening and revealed that the expeditionary force had gone to Cayo Confites.  Knowing this, the Naval Operating Base at Guantanamo thereafter kept activities under observation.

August 16.
Two P-35 type aircraft observed on Cuban Navy Field.

August 18.
Documents of the Dominican Central Revolutionary Committee transmitted to the Department (despatch 4282 of August 18.) The Cuban Foreign Minister denied his Government had received through official channels any formal protest from the Dominican Governments.  General Genovevo PEREZ Damera, Cuban Chief of Staff, stated that there were no armed groups of forces which might be preparing to invade the Dominican Republic in any territory under his jurisdiction.  This, it appears, was literally true because Cayo Confites is probably under Navy Command.  The Foreign Minister's statement was the same sort of sophistry.

August 19.
Four Lockheed F-5 (P-38 type) planes observed.  Existence of substantial quantities of armament and munitions were reported on the property of the Minister of Education.

August 23.
The men on Cayo Confites, sleeping on the sand, contending with mosquitos, poor food and inaction, were becoming restive.  It appeared that the timetable of the invasion was upset and that troops were ready before the aircraft.  Planes were being brought in, but they were not equipped for warfare.  Bomb racks, machine guns and radios were being sought frantically.

August 27.
While the troops on Cayo Confites had been training, and arms and munitions for them were now plentiful, the action of the Cuban Army in holding seized planes held matters up.  A pilot had brought in a P-38 type to Camp Columbia by mistake.  It had been held.  Manolo Castro, Director General of sports, on whom the burden of aircraft preparations fell, went to the Palace and had a long conference with officials there.  This resulted in the release of a C-47 plane and the P-38 type plane.  The latter was flown to the Navy field at Mariel on September 4.

The original purchase of munitions and the recruitment of troops was largely done by the Revolutionary Committee aided by Cubans.  Once the move to Cayo Confites had been made, aircraft preparations and maintenance of the force of troops appears to have fallen upon Cuban shoulders.  The long delay apparently exhausted the Revolutionary far Chest and subsequent costs and preparations were mainly paid for by Cuban officials.

September 4.
Revolutionaries decided not to use the B-24 and Vega Ventura Bombers held by Army, and they were busy buying other planes in the United States.  One B-25 arrived and three more were expected.

September 22.
The leaders had been making heroic efforts to hold their forces together and complete preparations.  They appeared to be succeeding.  An additional vessel had been observed at Cayo Confites (making three).  Regular trips to the harbor of Nuevitas assured supplies of food and water.  There were reports of plans to move forces to another acre agreeable location.  American pilots and mechanics were conditioning aircraft at Mariel and flying them daily.  It appeared that if the force could be held together another three weeks, success was assured.  Apart from the Army, the Cuban Government was lending every assistance.  The men were being controlled, even though some reports were ominous.  The air striking force promised to be large enough to do immediate and extensive damage to Ciudad Trujillo.

A group departed to seek support of Haitian President.

September 15.
This date found General Perez in Washington.

On the same day, a battle between rival factions in the National Police, costing six lives, was broken up by the Army.  Police Major Mario Salabarria appeared to be the principal instigator.  President Grau asked General Perez to return at once, and he left Washington in an American Army plane.  This was the payoff:  the "untimely political crisis", mentioned at the beginning of this despatch.

September 16.
General Perez arrived at 3:25 a.m. and quickly took the situation in hand.  He summoned the military court and brought charges against Salabarria and other members of the police force.

September 17.
At a press conference General Perez stated that groups formed to carry out personal vengeance would not be permitted in Cuba.  The General's steps to restore order were applauded in the press.

September 18.
An Army detachment took possession of Salabarria's headquarters.  The President appointed an Army Supervisor for the National Police.

September 20.
The Army seized some 13 truckloads of arms and munitions on a farm said to belong to Aleman, Minister of Education.  General Perez informed the press that he believed the arms were to be used in a conspiracy against the Army.  Minister Aleman issued a statement that General Perez was acting in accordance with the President's wishes.

September 21.
Army raided the Hotel Sevilla, Habana, which was used by certain revolutionaries as headquarters.  Firearms and documents were seized.

September 22.
Generals Perez, Quarejeta and Cabrera conferred with President Grau with Minister Aleman present.  Embassy reported Army would probably disarm revolutionaries.  Revolutionaries left Cayo Confites.

September 23.
Revolutionaries arrived at Cayo Santa Maria.  Army and Navy alerted throughout Cuba.  Vice Consul, Nuevitas, reported road blocks, and added that Army had seized revolutionary ship BERTA and had disarmed a number of revolutionaries.

September 24.
General Perez, in an interview with the press, after seeing President Grau and the Navy Chief of Staff (Aguila Ruiz) denied reports of a rift between the Army and Navy and said (quite correctly) that "there is nothing on Cayo Confites".  Virtually all the American pilots returned to the United States.  Revolutionary leaders in Habana made a last-minute unsuccessful attempt to organize a suicide air raid on Ciudad Trujillo using Cuban pilots.

September 25.
Habana newspaper Prensa Libre reported 1500 men, besieged on Cayo Confites by Cuban Army and Navy, had appealed to Senate for permission to leave with arms.  (This was the first press report.)  Revolutionary ships sighted at Cayo Guinches under observation of Cuban Navy frigate.  General Perez arrived at Camaguey.  Grau conferred with Generals Querejeta and Cabrera.

September 26.
After his return to Habana, General Perez conferred with President Grau and labeled as "absurd", rumors that he would be replaced.  Bulk of revolutionary force in two LCI's made unsuccessful attempt to reach Haiti for attack on Dominican Republic.

September 27.
Troop movements from Camaguey to Nuevitas reported.

September 28.
Some 270 revolutionaries who had been abandoned at Cayo Guinches arrived at Camp Columbia (Habana) from Nuevitas under Army escort.  Bulk of revolutionary force aboard two LCI's oversighted at Nipe Bay.

September 29.
Army Investigator of Warianeao incident informed press that Dominican expeditionary force had been seized.  Revolutionary ships left Nipe Bay under naval escort.  Manolo Castro arrested at Miami for illegal export of arms.

September 30.
Army announced 800 revolutionaries landed at Antilla.  Senator Chibas accused President Grau of having "betrayed the cause of Dominican liberty.

October 1.
Bulk of invasion force (725 men), including General Juan Rodriguez Garcia arrived in Habana and were detained at Camp Columbia.

October 2.
Chief of Cuban Navy announced revolutionary ships had been seized by Government.

October 4.
All revolutionaries ordered released by court except 26 held under $5000 bail (bond was provided and all were subsequently released.) General Rodriguez denied coup had been planned against Cuba; confirmed that two LCI's had tried to make last minute dash to Santo Domingo but were intercepted by Cuban Navy; said that arms at Aleman's finca were his own; failed to charge any Cuban official but admitted Government had been "tolerat".

October 7.
General Perez and Navy Chief Aguila Ruiz failed to answer summons to testify before investigating magistrate.

October 9.
Supreme Court ruled that, in accordance with the Constitution, Senate should try the case against Aleman and that Urgency Court should take cognizance of charges against others involved.

Participation of the Cuban Government

Short of a declaration of War, Cuba lent every aid to the organization of the invasion.  Until late September 1947, when the Chief of Staff of the Army suppressed the plot, assistance was active all the way from the Palace down to truck drivers.  Perhaps the briefest method of relating the facts is to describe the participation of the principal Government agencies involved.


The implication of the Navy was deep.  Beginning with the port captains who condoned very frequent arrivals and departures of vessels, it went so far as a port captain signing a letter stating that fresh water was for "official" purposes.  (The original is in the Embassy safe.)  A Cuban Navy coastguard vessel was in Nipe Bay at the time the force embarked for Cayo Confites.  Thereafter Navy vessels were at Nuevites and complacently made visits to Cayo Confites.

The leading craft purchased by Cubans for the revolutionaries had been cleared by the Navy to the Embassy.  the Commodore even personally recommended Mr. Cruz Alonso to the Naval Attache, at the time when the U.S. Customs was detaining a landing craft at Baltimore which had been purchased by Cruz Alonso and was clearly for the invasion.

The Navy permitted use of its flying field at the Mariel Naval Base by the revolutionary aircraft.  It was there that the P-38 type aircraft were worked on in preparation for an attack, and almost daily flown by American pilots.

Concerning the Navy, the most categoric statement of its Participation was made by Rolando MASFERRER in an interview published in the periodical Bohemia in its issue of October 12.  He said:

"The Army and the Navy cooperated with us.  For example, the three 37 mm. cannon installed on the AURORA and their mounts, as well as the bombs and all the material stored on the Finca "America" were furnished us by the Navy, following an interview held by us with Commodore Jose AGUILA RUIZ and at which Commander Gejate was present.  These were surplus war materials of our Navy from the last war.  Other proof of its adherence to the Dominican revolutionary movement is the fact that bazookas seized by the Army as well as the mounts for the machine guns were taken in a Navy truck driven by a sergeant to the finca "America" in the presence of Commander Gajate.  In addition, the high-powered explosives which we had were given to us by the Navy.  At Mariel we had, under the custody of the Navy, explosives, six P-38 fighters and three bombers, as well as two PT boats which had been acquired in the United States.  I remember that one of the PT's required the change of an engine.  Mechanics of our force proceeded to the base and changed the engine for a new one purchased in Miami.  Commodore Aguila Ruiz furnished us with information concerning Dominican naval strength.  There is no doubt that the Navy behaved with fervent loyalty to the cause of the Dominican people."

Gasoline of 100 octane was purchased for revolutionary use.  (Cuban Navy planes do not use this.)

Manolo CASTRO Director of Sports

The role played by this man was so large that it is treated separately from the Ministry of Education.  As a Cuban Government official, he worked very actively to organize the effort and towards the end his full time was occupied with that of getting the air striking force ready.  Sufficient information must be available from the investigations of the FBI and the U.S. Customs Service to require little amplification.  Be it said in summary that the Sports Palace was used at one time for bomb storage.  Castro purchased aircraft, recruited pilots, bought munitions, armament, communications equipment, and, in short, engaged in a multitude of activities in a desperate effort to ready the air force.  He almost succeeded.  He operated with the full knowledge of the Minister of Education.

Jose Manuel ALEMAN, Minister of Education,
was one of the prime movers in the attempt.

History may reveal-but probably will not--the amount of funds used for the invasion.  Quite apart from the use of Government schools as training centers, and of equipment such as trucks to transport men and supplies, there were large direct expenditures.  Equipment was obtained on Government voucher, and following the depletion of the original revolutionary war chest, the Minister is reported to have furnished all food and supplies for the force on Cayo Confites, at one time stated to cost a minimum of $60,000 per month.  Total Cuban participation in money has been announced in millions; how much no one knows at present.

Masferrer has stated, "We decided that Manolo Castro would acquire them (aircraft) in the United States.  With money furnished by Minister Jose Manuel Aleman, he was able to buy six P-38 fighter planes, eight B-25's as well as six Douglas transports."

On the Minister's farm property, the present ownership of which has by curious coincidence become obscure, 13 truckloads of munitions were seized.


As previously pointed out, the Army's role in the whole matter is not clear.  Its sins, as far as implication of the Cuban Government is concerned, are those of omission rather than commission.  While the Army finally suppressed the movement, and while during the summer it seized planes that did not land safely at friendly fields, it was certainly aware of what was happening.  It knew of the recruiting that took place.  General Perez observed the training at Holguin.  The Army forced the departure of the force from Holguin and Antilla to Cayo Confites.  Had the Army been imbued with a deep desire to maintain domestic tranquility, to keep down firearms and to suppress revolutionary organizations, it could have acted in June rather than in September.

The Police

The police, like the Army, are implicated by inaction rather than by action.  Through the period of recruiting (a recruiting office was run rather openly in Habana), and as regards the carrying of arms and similar matters, the police condoned the affair.  What role the principal police officials played is not clear at this point.  Major Salabarria, head of the Special Investigation Section of the National Police, who precipitated the Marianao affair, was tied in rather closely, even to the point of engineering a train hold-up on June 28 to get funds for the revolution.  A train bearing $300,000 in cash to cover sugar central payrolls was to have been held up, but the plan miscarried, and another was robbed instead, with a relatively poor haul of $7,000.  Open direction of provisioning for the force on Cayo Confites was undertaken by Captain AGOSTINI, Chief of the Palace Police.

Customs Service

Large quantities of arms were brought into Cuba, both clandestinely and through regular channels with the knowledge of customs officials.  Much equipment was addressed to the Director of Sports.  A few of the events are amusing, such as the surprise of an employee of the Sevilla Biltmore Hotel to find that when a case of "vegetable oil" broke open contained machine guns.

Customs officials of the ports of Nuevitas and Antilla were aware of the plot and permitted almost daily arrivals and departures of ships with provisions.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The statements made by the Foreign Minister during the hue and cry over the invasion provide a unique chapter in diplomatic history and a sidelight on Autentico politics in Cuba.  Diplomatic illness, a severe case of double talk and blindness, appeared to have afflicted him.  When the Dominican Government first charged than an invasion was being organized in Cuba, it seemed that no one had ever heard of it.  When the Cuban Government's good offices to suppress the attempt were requested, the invasion was a myth.  These statements could be understood, even when the affair was a topic of gossip by every chief of mission.  However, even the local press could not stomach the Minister's denials of having received a note of protest or other communications from the Dominican Government.  It is quite possible that the Minister was strictly correct.  He may have received no note--his Chargé in Ciudad Trujillo may have received it!  However ridiculous this patent effort to mislead, made him, he persisted therein until Trujillo sent a direct message to Grau which Trujillo released had difficulty reaching the Minister.  The Minister, he was told, had just left for home--but mysteriously the twenty-minute journey required hours.

The Foreign Ministry made no protest ever daily American Navy observation flights over or near Cayo Confites.

The length to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs went in support of the invasion was illustrated by the pressure from the Cuban Embassy in Washington to secure release of the landing craft detained by the Customs Service at Baltimore.  That Embassy and the Ministry which requested its release could not have been unaware of its intended use.

On August 25, the Ambassador, accompanied by Mr. Joseph R. DILLON, Treasury Representative, called upon the Foreign Minister to request assistance in determining if any aircraft had been illegally exported from the United States.  this approach was made under instructions from the Department.  The Ambassador made clear that the information desired was purely for customs purposes and to ascertain whether there had been violations of law within the United States.  The Minister promised to put the competent authorities in touch with Mr. Dillon and facilitate his task.

There followed from August 25 until the beginning of October several conferences, appointments and broken appointments, that can only be described as the most complete run-around.  Mr. Dillon arrived exactly no where through these channels.  It was completely clear that the Foreign Minister did not wish any United States official to see the aircraft in question.  It appears inconceivable that his Ministry did not know that we were aware of the number and type of plane held at each field.  His completely negative and un-cooperative attitude has continued.

Mr. Dillon was able finally to gather the evidence required through an entirely different channel.

The Presidency.

Little need be said concerning the participation of President Grau.  His long friendship with some of the leaders; the active participation of at least one Cabinet Minister (a favorite); intelligence from the Cuban Army, Navy and Secret Police; even the local newspaper stories, all showed that the Government was implicated.  The responsibility must finally be laid at the door of the Chief of State.  There is little doubt that Grau had long extended his blessing and support to the plot.

Presumptive Implication of the United states.

In the rapid confusion of events the position of the United States was a curious one.  We made an effort to remind the Cuban Government of its international commitments and of the dangers of so ill-advised a venture (see despatch No. 4235 of August 4 reporting a conversation with the Minister of State).  But it became increasingly difficult, and at last impossible, to get the ear of any important member of the Government: at least in Habana.  While the Cubans were seized with diplomatic deafness, the invasion leaders straining their ears in our direction; were in fact using every art to gain some information of our attitude; and in our silence their wishful thinking  read assent.  Meanwhile the other American Republics watched and listened with interest.  For them it was an interesting test case, both of that might be expected from the United States in such circumstances and of how much the plotters could get away with.  The origin of the material, the presence of American technicians, the probably well-founded suspicion the funds for the movement were collected in the United States from Americans with interests in the Dominican Republic, and our apparent inaction all contributed to the impression that the enterprise had our tacit approval; that the package, though delivered from Cuba, was marked "Made in USA".  Thus by circumstantial evidence some of the responsibility was laid at our door.

The term "apparent inaction" is used because outsiders were not aware of our efforts to make representations on the one hand, and on the other to avoid moral commitments; nor of the closeness with which we followed every development.  For many weeks this Embassy saw the finest kind of staff work, daily correlated, between ourselves, the Army, the Navy, the Intelligence Group, the Treasury and our Public Relations officer; very effectively aided by the investigations made by Commodore Battle at Guantanamo.  Members of the American business community throughout the island were also helpful and discreet.  All information was pooled, screened, analyzed, and interpreted to our best ability.  Thus we kept ghostly step with the conspirators, and no development could have caught us unawares.

In retrospect, four things stand out from our daily observation of the attempt.  First, the invasion could have been successful.  Second, there was a change of character, leadership and spirit from one of idealism to one of materialism and the strong hand.  Third, there is the deep implication of the Cuban Government.  Fourth, there was widespread presumption of our own implication.

Of munitions, aircraft and men there were plenty.  The Government of Cuba gave every aid.  Sympathies were with the attempt.  Enthusiasm was high; even while being brought under arrest to Habana, the troops--after two months of privation on a barren island--still wished to fight.  It is quite possible that had a strong initial showing been made in an invasion, substantial support would have been given within the Dominican Republic.  The invasion was within a hair's breadth of taking place and possibly would have succeeded.  Its failure was due primarily to an accident of time.  Had the police affray on September 15 at Marianao not occurred, it is quite likely that preparations would have continued and the Army might not have intervened.  But apart from this contretemps, several factors contributed to failure.  It may be mentioned in review that leadership was poor and divided.  Coordination of supplies, troops and aircraft was poor.  Particularly bad were the logistics of procurement.  The munitions, arms and aircraft should have been ready by the time recruitment started.  As it was, men held for two months on Cayo Confites began to be a disciplinary problem of the first order.  The aircraft were never finally put into combat condition.  Plans were too grandiose.  Highly specialized military aircraft requiring special fittings, bomb racks, gun mounts and armament difficult to obtain posed problems.  An equal number of cargo planes from which bombs might be rolled out the doors could have been ready in a matter of days rather than weeks.  There was too much loose talk and publicity.  The support of the Army was not first assured.  This was of especial importance inasmuch as the principal Cuban Government official concerned, Minister Aleman, was an enemy of General Perez.  It may even be said that reliance on President Grau was a tactical error, for although he is by no means a broken reed, yet when the crucial moment came he either could not or would not deliver.

The character of the leadership and spirit deteriorated from the idealism of the Dominican exile leaders into what can be described as almost gangsterism, one would not deny that General Juan Rodriguez wished to regain his confiscated properties in the Dominican Republic.  However, his contribution of over half a million dollars to the cause could not be called a good risk.  Juan Bosch, inspired by what appears to be a disinterested hatred of Trujillo and his works, was probably not thinking deeply in materialist terms, and neither were some others.  But Bosch, who with the original 150 men went to eastern Cuba with large supplies of arms and with the landing craft already arranged for, gradually found--along with other Dominican leaders--that he was being taken over by the Cubans.  All the later preparations in Habana--recruitment, the procurement of aircraft, hiring of pilots--were entirely in Cuban hands.  Recruitment in Cuba was by the MSR, a revolutionary and violently inclined group of men.  Juan Bosch became a virtual prisoner on Cayo Confites.  Dominican exiles stated in Habana in early September that many of the Dominicans (there were only about 130 on the island) felt that the invasion should be called off; one Trujillo was bad enough but 15 men as bad or worse than Trujillo would be too much to inflict upon the Dominican people.  Just before the force left Cayo Confites, Rolando Masferrer, head of the MSR, had practically assumed command and it was reported to the Embassy, discipline was maintained by a virtual reign of terror.  The suicidal proposal of Masferrer still to attack the Dominican Republic with only a part of the force and without aircraft demonstrates the lengths to which such men might go.

The motivation of the Cubans can always be laid in part to some quixotic idealism, to an ingrained fetish of revolution, to a hatred of Trujillo; but the participation of such men as Jose Aleman, Masferrer and Salabarria can only finally be explained in terms of gross self-seeking.  Some were to be given properties, another was to be a collector of customs, another was to be Minister of Finance.  The cooked goose promised to be rich with gravy.  Reported partly in jest but probably true, was the statement that there were twelve persons at one time on Cayo Confites who expected to be the next President of the Dominican Republic.  How the change from a certain outraged liberalism to the materialism of the what-is-there-in-it-for-me brand contributed to success or failure is less germane to the outcome of the story than the fact that, as the plot to overthrow Trujillo developed, the knights in shining armor were unhorsed by that type of buccaneer which seems always to have abounded in the Spanish ____.

The role played by the Cuban Government should sound a warning concerning the usefulness of its high [unreadable] obligations.  A party to the Habana Convention of 192_, a member of the United Nations, a participant uttering high-sounding phrases at the Rio Conference and their attacking the "economic imperialism" of [not clear] sugar legislation--was at one and the same time breaking its treaty obligations, preparing to disturb the peace of the hemisphere, and plotting against the life of a government with which it maintained diplomatic relations.  The more one reflects on what has taken place, and the more the evidence accumulates, the more one becomes convinced that the burden of responsibility falls upon the President of Cuba.  Furthermore, the general popularity of the invasion attempt, the public disregard and the almost complete press disregard of any of Cuba's obligations, is striking.  Than too, the attitude of certain other government that the breaking of a couple of treaties was of no moment when there was a chance of getting rid of Trujillo again illustrates the difference in the concept of moral obligation as between the American and the Latin mind.

Our own Government, in the circumstances, had a delicate and difficult role to play.  Looking back, it is hard to see what errors of omission might have been avoided.  The policy of apparent inaction, while generally misinterpreted, kept us reasonably clear of the melee and, it is to be hoped, did not diminish our moral weight in the inter-American community.  Looking forward, we can profit from this experience by establishing a tighter control on the export of war surplus and war material, and by losing no opportunity to make our principles clear.

For the threat of a revolution or invasion of the Dominican Republic is not dead.  So long as Trujillo continues to be President, exiles will fan the flames of hope.  It will not be so easy again.  Much money was spent.  The material very likely may not be released by the Cuban Army.  President Grau's term of office is drawing to a close.  Other governments may not be so hospitable.  However, plotting continues.  A larger sugar crop is promised in Cuba in 1948.  Venezuela lacks no markets for oil.  Money may be found.  The impresarios are still on the stage.  the curtain may yet rise on a hit show.

Respectfully yours,

R. Henry Norweb

1. Notes on principal personalities involved.
2. Newspaper photographs of principal personalities.
3. Photographs taken on Cayo Confites.

File No. 800

October 17, 1947
Enclosure No. 1




Lie.  Angel MORALES, President of the Central Revolutionary Committee, former Dominican Ambassador in Washington, former Vice President of the League of Nations Assembly, former Vice President of the Dominican Republic prior to Trujillo's regime.  Morales has only been in Cuba since the summer of 1947.

Juan BOSCH, about 45, writer and contributor to leading local publications.  Resident of Cuba for the past seven or eight years.  Close friend of Presidents Betancourt of Venezuela and Grau of Cuba.  Bosch once edited a newspaper controlled by President Grau.  Bosch is also close tot he Minister of Labor, Carlos Prio Socarras.  Bosch has received continued financial support from Prio principally through "botellas".  He is a member of the Central Revolutionary Committee which was led by Morales.

Juan Isidro Jimenez Grullon, clever and able writer who with Bosch has led the Dominican revolutionary activities in Cuba for the past eight or nine years.  Resident of Cuba since 1937.  Jimenez makes his appeal to leftists groups in Cuba and has on occasion contributed to the Communist daily Hoy.  He is considered to be an intelligent man and an able one.  He is a member of the central Revolutionary Committee which was led by Morales.

Juan RODRIGUEZ Garcia, 60, one of the heavy financial backers of the expedition, who was slated to be President of the Dominican Republic if the movement succeeded.  Rodriguez has been living in Cuba only about six months.  He held the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Army and it was understood that he was a large land owner in the Dominican Republic until about two or three years ago, when he was forced to flee.  Rodriguez was a member of the Central Revolutionary Committee which was led by Morales.  Rodriguez had a son who accompanied him named Jose Rodriguez who was graduate of the Harvard Law School and who is understood to be an able and intelligent man.

Dr. Leovigildo CUELLO, 58, doctor of medicine, graduated from the universities of Santo Domingo and Paris.  Dr. Cuello is not particularly well know in Cuba.  He was a member of the Central Revolutionary Committee led by Morales.

Dr. Enrique "Gotubanama" HENRIQUES, born in the Dominican Republic but raised in Cuba and possibly a Cuban citizen.  Dr. Henriques is married to the sister of the Minister of Labor, Carlos Prio Socorras.  he served as liaison between the revolutionaries and Prio.  Although Dr. Henriques is married to the sister of the Minister of Labor, Carlos Prio Socorras.  He served as liaison between the revolutionaries and Prio.  Although Dr. Henriques has been close to the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario, a nationalistic group of Marxist taint, many of whose leaders were formerly affiliated with the Communist Party, his sympathies are believed to have been with the Dominicans and not with the other members of the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario (Castro, Masferrer and Fernandez) when the latter took the leadership of the revolutionary movement away from the Dominicans.

Felix Buenaventura Sanchez (known as "El Dominicano"), approximately 46, a Dominican exile who was sent to Haiti on or about September 15, 1947 in an attempt to persuade the Haitian Government to allow the revolutionary forces to land in and transit Haiti.  Sanchez traveled under a Venezuelan official passport and went immediately to see the Venezuelan charge in Port-at-Prince upon his arrival.  He may be a Venezuelan and not a Dominican but it is known that he left Haiti in somewhat of a hurry as President Trujillo had a price on his head.

Irundino VILELA, believed to be a Dominican or a Cuban, accompanied the mission to Haiti on or about September 15, 1947 and is believed to have been a propaganda expert.  It is reported that he carried with him a considerable quantity of propaganda material of one kind or another and that he was supposed to start an anti-Trujillo movement in Haiti.

Dr. Luis F. MEJIAS and Dr. Eduardo VICIOSO, Dominican exiles apparently living in Venezuela, visited the revolutionary forces on Cayo Confites.  Considered to be important members of the movement.  Upon their return to Caracas they published a report in the Venezuelan press that President Grau was 100 percent behind the revolutionary movement.


President Ramon GRAU San Martin, knew all about the revolutionary attempt and authorized the cooperation of the Cuban Army and Navy.

Rafael GONZALEZ Munoz, Cuban Minister of State.

Jose Manuel ALEMAN, 42, former Minister of Education, presently Minister without Portfolio.  Aleman is the leader of the BAGA political group and one of President Grau's close associates.  He was the Minister entrusted with the organization of the revolutionary movement and his complicity was complete.  Aleman is one of the gangster-type young revolutionaries in Cuba and his name has been connected with the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario.  It is clear that Aleman contributed funds, both personal and governmental; that he used the Ministry of Education trucks to transport the revolutionaries and that he was in constant touch with the leaders of the movement.  A large cache of arms destined for the revolutionary movement was located on the finca "America", reportedly his property.  Aleman's complicity was so obvious that a motion of censure in the Cuban Senate resulted, something which his political enemies had hoped to do for some time.  Following the Senate's motion of lack of confidence, Aleman was forced to resign as Minister of Education on September 30, 1947 and following his resignation he was immediately appointed Minister without Portfolio by  President Grau, who continues to base reliance on Aleman.

Carlos PRIO Socorras, Minister of Labor, was unquestionably close to the revolutionary movement.  Both Juan Bosch and Dr. Enrique Henriques are close friends of Prio.  While Prio probably did not take an active part in the details of the movement, there is little doubt that he was fully aware of what was going on.

Manolo CASTRO del Campo, 38, formerly President of the Federacion Estudantil Universitaria, Director General of National Sports in the Ministry of Education and a member of the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario.  Castro is a true revolutionary, friendly to President Grau.  He is one of the group of persons who were close to Grau in 1933 and for whom President Grau has felt that he had to do something.  When the purchase of aircraft in the United States for the revolutionary group was not working out satisfactorily under Dr. Reinaldo RAMIREZ Rosell, Castro took over the job.  Castro was one of the most active of the revolutionary group both in Cuba and in the United States.  He was arrested at Miami in late September 1947 and charged with illegal export of munitions from the United States.  Very courageous, Castro is intensely nationalistic and potentially dangerous.

Rodriguez CRUZ ALONSO, owner of the Hotel San Luis in Habana.  One of the revolutionary plotters.  Cruz Alonso's hotel in Habana was the headquarters of the plotters for a long time and Cruz Alonso was very active in purchasing material.  He is reported to have gone to Argentine at one time and it is known that he went to the United States in the summer of 1947 to purchase landing craft.  His failure to obtain sufficient landing craft is one of the causes of the failure of the expedition because of the expedition's weakness in transportation.  Although Cruz Alonso was one of the principal purchasing agents, it is believed he was materialistic in his outlook and that he had a good job lined up in the Dominican Republic if the revolution succeeded.

Dr. Reinaldo RAMIREZ Rosell, head of Aerovias Cubanas Internacionalos, was one of the purchasing agents for the expedition in the United States.  Dr. Ramirez was supposed to purchase a number of aircraft.  Although he was successful in obtaining some, he apparently over-charged the revolutionaries and fell out of grace and was succeeded by Manolo Castro.  Ramirez has an unsavory reputation in Cuba and is regarded as a complete opportunist.  Of all the revolutionary movement, Ramirez is one of the few who probably made some money out of it.

Colonel Fabio RUIZ Rojas, Chief of the Police, currently on leave.  Ruiz was one of the young revolutionaries of 1933 and was put in the police force to keep him out of trouble.  A lawyer, Ruiz was an active collaborator with the revolutionaries and he sent his bro-there Iran Ruiz to Haiti on or about September 15, 1947 with the mission to request the Haitian Government to allow the Revolutionary force to disembark and transit Haiti.  Iran Ruiz was accompanied by Lieutenant Rene DE CARDENAS of the National Police and the two were traveling under police orders.

General Genovevo PEREZ Damara, 38, Commanding General of the Cuban Army, is one of the important figures of the Dominican revolutionary attempt.  Although many of the revolutionaries claimed that General Perez was brought in on the plans of the revolutionary movement as long as a year ago, there appears to be considerable evidence nevertheless that when the movement actually got started, he was not kept informed of all the details.  Whether this was an oversight on President Grau's part or stemmed from the fact that Grau was using Minister of Education Aleman, who is a known enemy of Perez, is immaterial.  In any event General Perez began in July 1947 to place obstacles in the way of the revolutionaries.  Whether General Perez favored the plot at first and then realized the implications or whether he acted solely in a spirit of pique and anger at his enemies is possibly immaterial; the fact remains that General Perez, of all the Cuban figures involved, was the only one who emerged from the whole incident with more power than before.  Perez was a veterinary student under Grau in 1933.  After he entered the Army, President Grau advanced him very rapidly since 1944.  General Peres has been close to President Grau and apparently in complete control of the Army.

Jose Enrique CAMEJO y Argudin, former Cuban Charge d'Affaires in Haiti, now in the Cuban Foreign Office, a member of the mission to Haiti on or about September 15, 1947.  Camajo carried an official letter of introduction from President Grau to President ESTIME of Haiti and was Grau's representative in the group which want to Haiti.  Camejo also had a tommygun in his luggage and traveled on a Cuban official passport.

Commodore Jose Aguila Ruiz, Commanding officer of the Cuban Navy, very close to the revolutionary movement.  Supplies, munitions and aircraft were openly landed at Cuban Naval Bases and Cuban naval vessels carried supplies for the revolutionaries.  Unquestionably commodore Aguila Ruiz knew all about the movement from the beginning and possibly was kept better informed then General Perez as to the details of the revolution.

Captain Jorge Felipe Agostini, naval officer and Chief of the Secret Police of the Palace.  Agostini acted as principal liaison officer between President Grau and the revolutionaries.  Agostini fought in Spain, was a Batista officer in the Navy but through friendship with General Perez was able to work himself into the good graces of President Grau.

Jose Rufemio FERNANDEZ Ortega, doctor of medicine, former officer in the National Police, veteran of the Spanish Civil War, member of the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario, one of the three or four Cuban leftists (Masferrer, Castro, etc.) who took the leadership of the revolutionary movement away from the Dominican group.  Fernandez used to be a close friend of Major Mario SALABARRIA, Chief of the Special Investigations Section of the National Police.  He was one of the chief plotters and incidentally was with Castro when he was arrested in Miami in October 1947.

George OSAWA, American-born Japanese, who claims to be a doctor of medicine.  Possibly a former Japanese naval officer, presently a Cuban citizen.  He was jailed from 1938 to 1941 for practicing medicine without a license, and later interned throughout the war as a Japanese agent.  An opportunist and gangster, Osawa entered into the movement through his friend Dr. Enrique Henriques.

Dr. Rolando MASFERRER, director of weekly publication "Tiempo en Cuba", leader of the Movimiento Sosialista Revolucionario, 30 years of age, veteran of the International Brigade in Spain, one of the leaders in the field of the movement.  Intensely nationalistic, anti-United States, Masferrer was ostensibly read out of the Communist party in August 1945.

Rogelio CAPARNOS [Caparros], also of the weekly "Tiempo en Cuba".  A close friend of Masferrer, Member of the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario.

Major Mario Salabarria,, formerly head of the Special Investigations Section of the National Police, reportedly a man of honest convictions but extremely rough methods.  He fought in the Spanish Civil War.  Salabarria was close to the Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario and Manolo Castro, is clearly implicated in the revolutionary movement for which he raised men and money.  Salabarria came into prominence several years ago when he accused the Minister of Commerce of dishonest dealings in a rice deal with Ecuador.  This caused the dismissal of that Minister of Commerce.  Salabarria recently avenged the assassination of a police officer friend with typical rough and ready tactics when he and his men shot the friend's alleged slayers, as well as others in the general vicinity.  This shooting has been referred to as the "Marianao Incident" and was not connected with the revolutionary movement in any way except that it provided General Perez with an excuse to round up all arms and munitions loose in Cuba.  Thus Salabarria contributed to breaking up of the revolutionary movement.

Alejandro DEL VALLE, approximately 35, black sheep of a prominent Cuban family, was raised in Spain.  He claims to have fought in the Abyssinian war, and took an active part in the revolutionary movement.  He was one of the emissaries to Haiti on or about September 15, 1947.

Major Feliciano MADERNE, officer in the National Police, and former Cuban Army officer, was recently catapulted into prominence when he accused President Grau and Minister Aleman of complicity in the revolutionary movement.  His accusation is presently before the Senate of Cuba.  It appears unlikely that Major Maderne will live very much longer unless he is extremely careful.


Romulo BETANCOURT, President of the Venezuelan Revolutionary Junta, is believed to have been at all times interested in the expedition.  Although it was reported that the Minister of Foreign Relations was opposed to any Venezuelan participation, official Venezuelan sanction of the movement appears certain.  For example, Felix Buenaventura Sanchez is known to have traveled on an official Venezuelan passport.  A large group of Venezuelans are known to have been among the revolutionaries at Cayo Confites.  Members of the Dominican Central Revolutionary Committee traveled back and forth between Habana and Caracas during the entire period of the movement.

Luis Augusto DUBUC, believed to be close to the Revolutionary Junta of Venezuela, was sent by President Betancourt to Cuba on or about September 25, 1947 to find out what was happening to the revolutionary movement in Cuba.  The Venezuelan Ambassador in Cuba took Dubuc to see President Grau and it is reported that they were both very displeased with the results of the interview - probably because President Grau told them that the movement was going to be broken up.


There is no evidence that any American officials or Americans of prominence (other than soldiers of fortune or small business men anxious to sell surplus war material) participated in the Dominican revolutionary plot.

The following is a list of the soldiers of fortune who are believed to have participated; it should be stressed, however, that as there are very lenient passport requirements between Cuba and the United States today, the names given by these men may have been entirely fictitious.

Louis C. DELL, formerly Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, member of General Chennault's "Flying Tigers", was apparently involved in the export of military aircraft to Cuba in the summer of 1947.  It is known that Ramirez Rosell did business with him.

Carl KNIGHT, a Miami aviator, formerly a lieutenant in the Air Force.  Is known to have purchased a B-24 from the War Assets Administration and to have immediately resold it to Ramirez Rosell.

Chester H. PICKUP, apparently aided Ramirez Rosell in purchasing planes in the United States and is known to have flown a B-24, bought by knight from the War Assets Administration, from Florida to Cuba.

Frank (Francis) ADKINS was apparently close to Ramirez Rosell in the summer of 1947; was sent to Los Angeles to buy P-38's.  Later Adkins came to Cuba where he was the leader of the aviators participating in the revolutionary movement.

Luis M. BORDAD, formerly of the Dominican Republic, but presently a resident of Santuros, Puerto Rico; served in the Marine Corps during the war and is known to have aided Ramirez Rosell in the purchase of aircraft in the United States.  Bordas accompanied Adkins on the mission to Los Angeles to purchase a P-38 in the summer of 1947.

Hollis Burton SMITH, approximately 25, resides at Palisades Park, New Jersey, was apparently hired by the Dominican revolutionary group in New York to manufacture explosives for the revolution-aries.  In this connection his name has been clearly connected with Castro and Dell.

Smith manufactured explosives in New Jersey before coming to Cuba.  Reportedly, three tons of explosives were flown to Cuba.  After the failure of the expedition, Smith returned to the United States and was immediately arrested by the United States authorities.

The following persons are believed to have actually been in Cuba with the revolutionary forces.  Most of them are believed to have been pilots or members of ground crews.  Again it should be stressed that the names given may have been fictitious.

Louis TANASSY (Tannessy), 35, who gave his address as 3209 86th Street, Jackson Heights, Long Island, New York.

Arthur ROSCOE, 26, who gave his address as 6910 Las Tilos Road, Hollywood, California.  Roscoe bought a P-38 to Cuba on or about August 15, 1947, is known to have been one of the aviators.  Upon his return to the United States, however, he told the press that he was from Chicago, Ill.

Loren C. SNOW (Loren Snarr), 25, gave his address as Club Pedro, Coral Gables, Florida.

Frank D. OERGES (Frank Dergel) (Frank Oreal) (Frank O'Neal), gave his address as 557 West Stacker Street, Glendale, Calif.

Fraili MATABANY (Frank Matasvage) (Frank Matasavage), 31, gave his address as 140 Chancelord North, New Jersey.

Michael CULLEN (Callas), 38, gave him address as Box 14, Madison, Conn.

Steve KURSTAY (Kostey), 31, gave his address 220 Almond Street, Catasunque, Pa.

John MAYER (Meyer), 24, gave his address as 6218 Lagores, Miami, Fla.

Donald KOHN (Kohin), 23, gave his address as 1413 Broce Ave., Glendale, Calif.

Peter ETHIER (Ethler), 26, gave his address as Chappaque, N.Y.

Lyman MIDDLEDITCH, 32, gave his address as Highlands, N. J.

Buck Templeton and Jessie MAYS known to be mechanics attached to the revolutionary force who left in a huff and went back to the United States before the collapse of the expedition.

John ALEXANDER, a pilot who flew a P-38 from Florida to Cuba on August 23, 1947.  Joined the revolutionary forces but later had an argument and returned to the United States before the failure of the expedition.

Robert ELLIOTT, known to have gone to the United States before the failure of the expedition, his home is known to be Los Angeles, California.

James T. LAWYER (Sawyer), 25, of New York City, and Rupert WADDELL, two other Americans, known to have assisted the revolutionary force.

Robert L. BROWN, American pilot for Linea Aeropostal Venezolana, is know to have flown a plane from the United States to Cuba, acting under orders from Manolo Castro.


Aside from clear implication of Dominicans, Cubans, Venezuelans and Americans in the revolutionary movement, there are indications that the Government of Guatemala was implicated.  There were a number of Guatemalan volunteers and it has been rumored that some of the arms and munitions came from Guatemala.  After the expedition failed, Masferrer accused President AREVALDO  of Guatemala of having been involved in the shipment of arms to Cuba.  He said that the arrangement had been made by Cruz Alonso.

Strangely enough, the Peruvian diplomatic representatives in Habana and Ciudad Trujillo were both extremely interested in the  revolutionary movement, although from a different point of view, The Peruvian diplomatic representative in Habana favored the movement and is reported to have been extremely annoyed when it failed.  On the other hand, the Peruvian diplomatic representatives in Ciudad Trujillo is known to have been close to President Trujillo and unquestionably gave him any information he received regarding the progress of the revolutionary movement.

There is considerable rumor to the effect that PERON was involved in the revolutionary movement.  Felix Buenaventura Sanchez and Alejandro Del Valle told the press after the failure of the revolutionary expedition that Peron was interested in supporting the regime of Trujillo and offered its financial support.  Masferrer, however, told the press that President Aravalo of Guatemala had obtained arms from Argentine for the revolutionaries.  In any event, it appears quite probably that MOLINART, Special Argentine Ambassador to the inaugural ceremony at Ciudad Trujillo and Special Argentine Emissary to Central America and the Caribbean for the past ten months, was extremely close to President Trujillo, while he was in Ciudad Trujillo.  It is said that Molinari advised Trujillo on all phases of policy, and Ambassador Butler has re-ported that Molinari probably drafted some of Trujillo's notes.  Strangely enough, this same information was at a later date.  Both stories, however, might have come ordinally from the same source.

President Trujillo has claimed that the revolutionary movement was dominated by Communists.  There is little evidence that any large number of Communists participated.

The Movimiento de Liberacion de America, a Cuban Communist organization, recruited for the revolutionary movement; and there were a number of Venezuelan Communist volunteer; in the force.  Rumor has it, however, that there volunteers caused considerable   trouble and were disbanded.

Gustavo MACHADO, Communist member of the Venezuelan Constitutent Assembly and Communist candidate for the presidency of Venezuela, had a conference with Gilberto VIERA, head of the Communists in Colombia at which conference it was decided that Machado should join the expeditionary force to ensure proper Communist influence in the new Government of the Dominican Republic if the expedition succeeded.  Whether or not Machado actually came to Cuba is not known.

VLansing Collins, jr/dts

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