611.3131/70a: Telegram

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

54. You are requested to draft a note to the Venezuelan Government incorporating the substance of the following:

“I have the honor by instruction of my Government to invite the attention of Your Excellency’s Government to the fact that since the effective date of the recently enacted Venezuelan customs tariff, the importation of certain goods from the United States has not been receiving the customs benefits granted the importation of like goods from various other countries.

In this respect I am directed to say that as Your Excellency is probably aware, it has been the practice of my Government to extend to Venezuelan commerce the concessions granted to other countries in trade agreements with the single exception of that with Cuba,6 whose relations with the United States have for many years been generally recognized as being of a special nature. It is therefore earnestly hoped by my Government that the Venezuelan Government will accord to the imports of goods from the United States the most-favored-nation treatment which was being granted until recently.”

You are requested in presenting the note to state orally that this Government is giving careful consideration to the suggestions with respect to initiating negotiations for a trade agreement made by the Foreign Minister in recent conversations with you as reported in your telegram No. 82.7 You may also state that your representations with respect to discrimination are not being made with any thought of delaying negotiations for a trade agreement, but that on the contrary your Government believes that Venezuela’s action in removing the existing discriminatory treatment of American commerce would place [Page 960] the two countries again on a basis of reciprocal most-favored-nation treatment which should serve to facilitate negotiations.

The Department understands from Special Report No. 65 dated November 24 from the Commercial Attaché, and your telegram No. 81, of November 30,8 that the Venezuelan Government considers that its obligation assumed in the French commercial agreement9 to give preferential rates to France in the event of the subsequent enactment of tariff increases precludes the Venezuelan Government from now granting American products the benefits given France although these benefits are being accorded certain other countries having most-favored-nation agreements. You are requested to report to the Department more fully on this point, particularly on the extent to which the Venezuelan Government appears to feel itself bound to this interpretation of the French agreement.

  1. Signed at Washington, August 24, 1934; for text see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 67, or 49 Stat. 3559; for correspondence see Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. v, p. 108.
  2. December 3, 4 p.m., p. 957.
  3. Neither found in Department files.
  4. Agreement by exchange of notes signed August 6, 1936, renewing agreements of February 26 and August 7, 1935; for text see Venezuela, Gaceta Oficial, August 8, 1936.