alternative text for graphic

Home | Intellectuals  |  Politics  |  Education

sample alt text
Chester Bowles, Diary Entry,“Notes on Crisis Involving the Dominican Republic,” June 3, 1961.
Chester Bowles Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Habib Moody ’10, Chester Bowles on Expertise

previous button next button
Bowles expresses moral outrage at recent Cabinet discussions about the correct response to threats to the rule of Rafael Trujillo, a U.S.-supported strongman in the Dominican Republic. Although Trujillo was anti-Communist, continued United States support for his repressive regime endangered the image of the United States throughout Latin America. With the rise of Castro, Trujillo’s replacement with a more moderate ruler seemed necessary to forestall a Communist revolution. News that dissident groups sought to assassinate him prompted several of Kennedy’s advisers, including Robert McNamara, Richard Goodwin, and Robert Kennedy, to advocate a fake embassy bombing and CIA support of the dissidents who sought to assassinate Trujillo. Bowles stands appalled. From a moral perspective, the cavalier willingness of his colleagues to contemplate such measures is unconscionable; from a pragmatic perspective, ignorance of the dictator’s likely replacement risks the introduction of dramatic instability in the region. On May 30, 1961, Trujillo was machine-gunned to death on a quiet road.