Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Documents on the 1965 Dominican Republic Invasion

Greg Weeks, weeksnotice.blogspot

The State Department just published a new Foreign Relations of the United States volume: Public Diplomacy, 1964-1968. Another word for "public diplomacy" is actually "propaganda." So, for example, in May 1965 the Director of the United States Information Agency wrote a memo to LBJ about the invasion of the Dominican Republic. He noted how difficult it was to get support in the region. We need to convince non-Communist governments of our good intentions.
If we are to succeed in making other Latin American nations believe that our actions are vital to their safety and freedom, it is of utmost importance that we get some members of the OAS, and perhaps non-OAS neighbors of the Dominican Republic like Jamaica, to speak out about the Communist involvement in the Dominican Republic, and to offer troops or other support to our efforts to end the bloodshed.
That did not work out too well. The OAS did eventually send people, including some troops, but this was not an OAS operation (Dominican President Danilo Medina did ask for an OAS apology two years ago). LBJ was pretty openly contemptuous of the OAS, and of Latin Americans: "We’ve just been kind of a holding operation until the Latin could in his own slow way finally move."

This is exactly the theme of Lars Schoultz's new book In Their Own Best Interestwhich I reviewed in October. We invade because we care. Behind the scenes are public relations officials who try to find ways of framing the actions in terms of the good we're doing. Making them believe we are making them safer.

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