611.3131/66: Telegram

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

82. The Foreign Minister yesterday and again today informally brought up the subject of a reciprocal trade agreement between the [Page 958] United States and Venezuela. He said that he considered it highly desirable to regulate trade relations of the two countries and pointed out that with the exception of Japan, the United States was the only important country whose commerce did not receive most-favored-nation treatment in Venezuela.

The Minister said that he had recently discussed the proposed trade agreement with the Minister of Hacienda and that he anticipated no special difficulties. In so far as the text of such an agreement was concerned, he regarded the problem as primarily a tariff issue and indicated that the reductions in import duties, promised under article XVII of the customs tariff,5 could best be granted if they were incorporated in a trade agreement similar to those negotiated by the United States with other countries of Latin America. He said that he intended to continue his conversations with the Minister of Hacienda today and tomorrow and that he would like to pursue the subject further with me next Monday.

I should appreciate the Department’s guidance as to what I may say to the Foreign Minister. In the event that the question of petroleum is delaying a decision to negotiate, it is my impression that trade agreement discussions could be initiated and if necessary carried to a conclusion without reference to that commodity.

  1. October 20, 1936; for text see Venezuela, Laws, Statutes, etc., Recopilación de Leyes y Decretos de Venezuela (Caracas, 1937), vol. lix, pt. 2, pp. 413, 417.