The Secretary of State to the Minister in Venezuela (Nicholson)

No. 73

Sir: Reference is made to the Legation’s despatch No. 271, May 7, 1936, in regard to the interest of the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs in the early negotiation of a trade agreement between the United States and Venezuela, and in regard to several bills relating to import charges on petroleum and petroleum products which have been introduced in the Congress.

In response to your request, a copy of each of the three bills mentioned in the despatch under reference (S. 2106, H. R. 10483, and H. R. 12161) is enclosed. In addition, copies of five other bills relating [Page 957] to the importation of petroleum and petroleum products are enclosed for the Legation’s file on this subject.2 Only one of these eight bills, namely H. R. 10483, has advanced beyond the point of reference to the appropriate committee of the House of Representatives or the Senate.3 In the case of the other bills, the Department understands that no action has been taken in committee and that no hearings or other action has been scheduled. Hearings before the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, on H. R. 10483, began on May 18, 1936, and it is understood that the bill has been ordered reported out. Although the Department cannot, of course, know in advance what the final outcome will be, it is not believed probable at this time that the proposed legislation will be acted upon favorably by both Houses at this session of the Congress. The Legation will be kept informed of developments in regard to this bill and any other bills relating to the importation of petroleum and petroleum products.

There is enclosed, for the Legation’s confidential information, a copy of the Department’s letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means in which the views of the Department in regard to H. R. 10483 are set forth.4

In the event that Dr. Gil Borges should again raise the question of proposed legislation which, if enacted, would tend to restrict further the importation into the United States of petroleum and petroleum products, you may inform him that the Department is following closely the course of such proposed legislation, with full realization of the bearing it has upon the maintenance of mutually profitable trade relations between the United States and Venezuela.

You may, in your discretion, inform Dr. Gil Borges that the question of a trade agreement with Venezuela is receiving the careful consideration of the appropriate officers of the Department.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. None attached to file copy.
  2. See House Report No. 2953, 74th Cong., 2d sess., vol. 3.
  3. Presumably letter of May 7, not printed.