Military Crisis Management: U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965

By Herbert G. Schoonmaker | Go to book overview

The provisional president, Molina Ureña, and eighteen rebel officers including Colonel Caamaño arrived at the embassy about 1700 and asked Ambassador Bennett to mediate between them and the San Isidro forces. Bennett told them that he had no authority to mediate and that the matter should be settled by Dominicans talking to Dominicans. Faced with an apparently hopeless situation, the Molina Ureña government collapsed and Ureña and several of his aides took refuge in the Columbian Embassy. Colonel Caamaño and other constitutional leaders continued to fight. 29

The evacuation continued and by Tuesday evening over six hundred Americans had, at the Haina piers, boarded the two ships departing for San Juan, Puerto Rico. Marine helicopters flew an additional 250 passengers to the Raleigh and about three hundred to the Boxer from the polo grounds. On Tuesday the marine helicopter squadron logged about sixty flying hours in 102 sorties using twenty helicopters. Tuesday night seven of the helicopters remained overnight at the polo grounds to take care of any emergency evacuation or liaison problems. 30

With the collapse of the Molina Ureña government, embassy officials assumed that the rebellion had collapsed. Bennett conferred with the police chief, Hernán Despradel, who predicted that the streets of Santo Domingo would be cleared of opposition that night. The ambassador informed Washington that a mopping-up operation probably would be accomplished soon and that he expected the anti- Bosch forces to prevail. In summarizing the country team's analysis of the confused situation to Washington Tuesday night, Bennett reported that embassy officials had not attempted to impose a solution but rather had sought to arrange a cease-fire and promote talks between the two sides. He reported that the Molina Urefia regime had admitted that it was unable to control the rebels and also pointed out the Castroite flavor of the radio and television broadcasts from the rebel side. This report included information that known communist groups, well-armed and organized, had moved rapidly to take advantage of the uncertain situation in downtown Santo Domingo. The sense of crisis in Washington now began to subside and the State Department, in a briefing paper prepared for the White House Tuesday afternoon, predicted that General Wessin y Wessin would soon control Santo Domingo. Tuesday night the president and the director of the CIA, John McCone, conferred briefly on the Dominican situation and agreed that, although the threat of another Castro emerging in the Dominican Republic1 would bear watching, U.S. intervention would not be necessary. By Wednesday the situation had changed completely and the president made the first of a series of decisions to commit American forces to the intervention. 31


NOTES
1.
Center for Strategic Studies, Dominican Action--1965, pp. 8- 9; Atkins and Wilson, The United States and the Trujillo Regime, p. 142; Martin, Overtaken by Events, p. 645.

-29-

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Military Crisis Management: U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Preface xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Revolt and Response (24-27 April) 19
  • Notes 29
  • 3 - Decisions and Initial Operations (28-29 April) 33
  • Notes 42
  • 4 - Crisis Management 49
  • Notes 74
  • 6 - Military and Diplomatic Coordination (30 April-5 May) 77
  • Notes 92
  • 7 - Support Operations 97
  • Notes 106
  • 8 - Peace Force and Political Settlement (may 1965-Sept. 1966) 109
  • Notes 119
  • 9 - Conclusions 123
  • Bibliography 135
  • Index 145
  • About the Author 153
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