810.20 Defense/513a: Telegram

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

8. From the Under Secretary.1 The General Staff has received secret information recently which leads it to believe that some attempt may be made upon the oil tanks or refineries in Aruba and Curaçao by Axis agents, either by means of a raider disguised as a merchant vessel or by airplanes now in German hands.

As a means of precaution, it considers that the best safeguard would be the storage of airplane bombs in Maracaibo and either in La Guaira or in some convenient place adjacent to La Guaira so that in the event of the contingency above mentioned, planes could be sent speedily from the Panama Canal to pick up the bombs at the places mentioned as a means of defense against the acts of aggression above specified.

If the steps contemplated were taken, the General Staff would wish to station, as custodian of the bombs to be stored, a skeleton company in the two places mentioned. The plan would envisage the sending of these two companies as technical instructors at the invitation of the Venezuelan Government or as part of any military mission of instruction which ostensibly might be desired by the Venezuelan Government.

Please take up this question in strict confidence at the earliest opportunity with Dr. Gil Borges2 or, if he is not sufficiently recovered, with Dr. Gustavo Herrera,3 and ask that the matter be laid in the most completely confidential manner before the President of the Republic.4 The War Department considers the question of serious and urgent importance and this Government will, of course, be glad to adopt any other practical form of achieving the above mentioned objective which the Venezuelan Government might care to suggest.

Please telegraph your reply. [Welles.]

  1. Sumner Welles.
  2. Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Of the Venezuelan Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Gen. Eleázar Lopez Contreras; he was succeeded on May 6, 1941, by Gen. Isaias Medina Angarita.