The President of Venezuela (Medina) to President Roosevelt
Esteemed Mr. President: I have read the important letter which you addressed to me with all the interest it merits.
The generous recognition which you make of Venezuela’s contribution to the war effort of the democratic countries is profoundly pleasing to my Government.
From the first moment of the war we have adopted a firm and clear position. Two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor I had occasion to state in a public document that Venezuela was at the side of the United States and that she assumed in full all the obligations and consequences of the inter-American engagements to which she was a party.
The logical consequences of this attitude were, among others, rupture of relations with the Axis Powers, adherence to the principles of the Atlantic Charter,45 and political, economic and military cooperation with the United Nations, in virtue of which this Government agreed with those of the United States and the Netherlands on conditions of joint defense of the Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Antilles; it fortified certain points of the coast to cooperate in the action of the Allied Teases; it coordinated with the British Government preparations for the defense of the Gulf of Paria; it fortified the island of Patos and combined its action with that of the American base on Trinidad; it opened its seaports and airports to the vessels and aircraft of belligerent countries friendly to us; vessels interned in Venezuela belonging to Totalitarian powers were seized; it took measures to keep watch over and restrain the activities of aliens or of nationals which might en danger the security of any American country; it subjected to Government control the movement of funds belonging to Axis citizens; it liquidated and expropriated commercial, industrial and transport enterprises belonging to them, and made available all its material resources, especially oil, to feed the war machines of the United Nations.
The effort and attitude of Venezuela have been those of a belligerent country; if up to now she has refrained from making a formal declaration of this situation, it was in the conviction that thereby she could in no way increase the effective of her contribution and that such a proclamation should be reserved for the moment when countries resort to direct warlike action on the field of battle, which she is precluded from undertaking with dignity because of her status as a small power. [Page 1425] Nevertheless, as soon as it was evident that in order to strengthen the front of American solidarity it was necessary to adhere formally to the Declaration by United Nations and proclaim the state of belligerency, Venezuela, consistent with her unvarying attitude, proceeded without hesitation to take this further step, which has already been published by my Government and for which our Ambassador in Washington has been authorized.46
With the serene satisfaction of duty done, my Government has in this manner brought about the full adherence of our country to the cause of the United Nations and its fraternal identity with the action and the spirit so magnificently embodied in the United States of America, and in so doing it is convinced that it is serving a just cause, which is that of the advent of a peaceful and stable world organization in which small nations will have the right to equality and the respect of their sovereignty and in which their legitimate interests will be amply guaranteed.
With the most sincere sentiments of sympathy and admiration I return your cordial greetings and renew to you the assurances of my friendship.
- File translation revised.↩
- Joint Declaration by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 367.↩
- Legislative approval of this step did not come until later. Telegram 657, July 2, 1945, from Caracas, reported the promulgation on June 28 of a law indicating that a state of belligerency existed between Venezuela and the Axis; it also reported the ratification by the President of the United Nations Declaration (740.0011 E.W./7–245).↩