831.6363/10–2745: Telegram

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

696. Drake and Hamilton of Gulf24 called here this morning urging in interests of their industry the obtaining if possible of some assurance from Betancourt that basic principles 1943 petroleum law such as royalty, surface tax etc. and existing concessions under this law would not have to be renegotiated. He referred to role of our Govt encouraging companies to negotiate in drafting of new law of which you are aware and urged this as justification for assurances of no change in basic principles 1943 law.

Please endeavor informally and orally to obtain from Betancourt oral assurances in sense hoped for by Gulf, which we consider justified and in interests of whole industry. Brit Emb informed of this contemplated informal approach and London may similarly instruct Brit Ambassador Caracas.25

This matter is very urgent and your approach should not be construed as an implication of recognition, there being due precedent for prior informal contact.

Our position is that we do not anticipate any infringement of the 1943 law. Foregoing has been discussed personally with Lares and Pedro Aguerrevere by Flack and Lares is advising Betancourt of your impending oral and personal discussion.

Byrnes
  1. J. F. Drake and C. W. Hamilton, President and Vice President, respectively, of Gulf Oil Corporation.
  2. Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes.