Memorandum of Conversation, by the Liaison Officer (Wilson)

The Venezuelan Ambassador called this morning at my request. I discussed with him the question of military and naval assistance for his country which formed the subject of his conversation with Assistant Secretary Berle on February 24.6

I stated to him that the battery of 155 mm. guns was due at Venezuela in about 10 days and that the four AT–6 advanced training planes should arrive very soon since his Government had now indicated the field at which these planes should alight.7 In pursuance of a conversation with Captain Schuirmann8 this morning, I told the Ambassador that the Navy is taking intensive measures to patrol the coast of Venezuela and the surrounding waters both with Army and Navy planes and with ships of the United States and of other Allied nations. In order to render this patrol more effective, a high ranking officer, Bear Admiral Oldendorf, has been sent to Curaçao. I added that the Navy was also investigating the possibility of arranging for calls to be made by some of these planes at Venezuelan airfields.

The Ambassador inquired whether the Military Attaché at Caracas could not be instructed to discuss defense measures directly with the Venezuelan Minister of War. I replied that the War Department would be pleased to issue such instructions to the Military Attaché but pointed out that the latter might not possess complete information on all subjects, and that for this reason the Army considered it preferable [Page 739] for a high ranking Venezuelan officer to be stationed at Panama for direct consultation with General Andrews.9 I told the Ambassador that this suggestion had already been submitted to his Government, to which he replied that he had heard nothing about it.

At the end of the conversation I told the Ambassador of the importance of the Gulf of Paria and that this area was being given very close attention by our military and naval authorities.

In response to my inquiry concerning Patos Island, the Ambassador replied that he had heard that this island had been definitely placed under Venezuelan sovereignty. He added that it was only a small rock and apparently did not realize its importance for military purposes.

The Ambassador told me that he had received from the Venezuelan Consul at Cayenne information indicating that the French officials in that city are extremely pro-Nazi and that German submarines had been refueling at the small town of Mana on the border of Surinam.

  1. Memorandum of conversation not printed.
  2. For establishment of the battery, see Stetson Conn and Byron Fairchild, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense, in the series United States Army in World War II: The Western Hemisphere (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1960), pp. 203204.
  3. Capt. Roscoe Schuirmann of the Office of Naval Operations.
  4. Lt. Gen. F. M. Andrews, Commanding General, Caribbean Defense Command.