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

No. 5756

Sir: Confirming the Embassy’s telegram No. 442 of even date,37 I have the honor to report that the Resolution of the Ministry of Finance removing the requirement of an import permit (Licencia Previa) for the importation of all automotive spare parts and accessories was finally published in the Venezuelan Official Gazette No. 21389 of April 24, 1944. Simultaneously, a Resolution of the competent authority was published establishing ceiling prices (presumably at wholesale, although not specified) on such automotive equipment, the maximum limit being the cost of the merchandise laid down in the importer’s warehouse plus 40 percent. Copies of the two resolutions in translated form are attached hereto as enclosures 1 and 2 respectively.38

While the action of the Venezuelan Government in accepting the Embassy’s proposal of some weeks ago is gratifying (see airgram No. 204, March 9, 4:05 p.m.37), it really has more significance than the mere removal of import restrictions on automotive spare parts. Consideration of this proposal by the Venezuelan authorities and the automotive importers developed into a somewhat significant test case between those elements favoring the maintenance of import controls and those opposed thereto. In this case, the Import Control Commission itself, supported by three or four of the leading automotive importers (who shared largely in the semi-monopolistic parts trade), constituted the opposition faction, while other elements of the trade, but more especially the Minister of Finance supported the Embassy proposal,—the latter with certain misgivings; it is believed that the final decision favoring freedom of trade was made by President Medina. In view of the various developments in this case, the hope is permissible that further proposals for removal of Venezuelan import restrictions may encounter a steadily diminishing resistance, particularly as the availability of ample shipping space becomes more certain.

Respectfully yours,

Frank P. Corrigan
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