The Ambassador in Venezuela (Corrigan) to the Secretary of State

No. 5704

Subject: Venezuelan Import Restriction of Pharmaceutical Products.

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch No. 5620 of March 1636 and earlier communications on the above subject, I have the honor to submit the following additional information:

Mr. Groves called yesterday by appointment on Sr. Rojas, Minister of Finance, and among other subjects again discussed at some length the question of Venezuelan restriction of our trade in certain pharmaceutical products through arbitrary refusal of import permits (Licencia Previa) by the Import Control Commission. Sr. Rojas said that this question had been the subject of considerable discussion between himself, the Import Control Commission—a subsidiary of his Ministry—and the Ministry of Health. He stated that in these discussions he had insisted that the present arbitrary control situation must be changed, and that the Commission should grant the required import permit for all pharmaceutical products, the importation of which is not specifically prohibited by an officially published resolution of the competent authority—the Ministry of Health. Sr. Rojas did not state that this view had been accepted by his colleagues, but he implied that he expects to have his viewpoint adopted in the near future.

While I am somewhat less optimistic than Sr. Rojas regarding the possible adoption of his present solution of the pharmaceutical import difficulty, nevertheless, I am convinced that the attitude of the top Government officials, including President Medina as well as the Cabinet officers, is noticeably more favorable to the general modification of the existing import control restrictions, and I am accordingly quite hopeful that this will make itself evident in the case of pharmaceutical imports in the near future. Further developments will be reported as they occur.

Respectfully yours,

Frank P. Corrigan
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