The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Venezuela (Engert)

No. 1248

Sir: With further reference to the Department’s confidential telegram No. 7 of March 10, 4 p.m., and your despatch No. 1502 of March 13, 1928, regarding the attitude of the Venezuelan Government towards American interests desiring to establish air lines in Venezuela, or between Venezuela and neighboring countries, you are informed that it is the intention of certain American aeronautical interests, operating with the approval and encouragement of the United States Government, to interest themselves within a short time in the carrying of air mail and passengers in the Caribbean area, probably establishing a connection between Panama and Venezuela via Colombia. There is now a bill pending in the United States Congress to authorize the United States Government to give financial assistance to air lines to Central and South America. It is important for the success of their endeavors that the Venezuelan Government grant no exclusive concessions to foreign aeronautical interests to operate in Venezuela, and it is of course highly desirable that the Venezuelan Government grant no concessions at all to foreign interests for air transport in Venezuela until the American companies above mentioned have had an opportunity to develop their project, since any concessions to operate air lines in Venezuela might in effect serve to prevent American interests from establishing a line. The United States, as you know, has always felt very strongly that an “open door” policy in such matters is best qualified to benefit all concerned.

The Department desires you to seize a favorable opportunity to discuss this matter informally and confidentially with President Gomez, intimating that the United States Government would be happy eventually to see Venezuelan and American aeronautical interests joined in the development of aviation in Venezuela, and that this Government would appreciate it if the field were kept open pending the maturing and presentation of American projects which are now being considered.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Francis White