Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Bainbridge C. Davis of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs
Background: The Venezuelan Embassy submitted to the Department Note No. 3147 of November 21, 1945,62 referring to the special mission of the Venezuelan Chief of Staff, Major Pérez-Jiménez and Captain Castro-Gómez, and requesting the Department’s assistance in facilitating the purchase of pistols, carbines, sub-machine guns, rifles, bazookas, bazooka shells, and 37 m/m shells, as well as certain quarter master equipment. On December 7, the Venezuelan Chargé, accompanied by the two officials, called on Mr. Flack and Mr. Davis, and in the course of the conversation pointed out, with reference to the 2,000 pistols mentioned in the note, that 1,200 pistols of this type had been ordered under Lend-Lease and only 50 received; and with respect to the 37 m/m shells, tanks equipped with 37 m/m guns had been received under Lend-Lease without ammunition and some without machine guns. The Venezuelans stated that these shipments had been promised and that they therefore considered them in a special category since we were already committed.
After consultation with Mr. Flack of NWC,63 with Mr. Dreier and Mr. Furniss of RL,64 Mr. Maxwell of LP,65 and Mr. Martin and Mr. Ext on of IR/M66 regarding the Venezuelan request, I telephoned Señor Lares. I explained that while it had been impossible to fulfill many orders received under Lend-Lease agreements, the termination of Lend-Lease had prevented even the delivery of material already allocated and under way, provided it had not left the United States, and that we had no authority to make any further Lend-Lease shipments. Furthermore, until enabling legislation is passed and until the Department has reached certain policy decisions with respect to the implementation of the staff conversations, it would not be possible for the United States to meet the Venezuelan request for these armaments. I pointed out that there was one exception. On December 7, the Venezuelan Army officers had indicated that the Venezuelan police were very short of pistols, that this interfered with the maintenance of internal order, and that it was the intention of the Army, upon the receipt of the 2,000 pistols mentioned in the note, to turn over some of the Army pistols to the police force. I suggested to Señor Lares that it might be possible to obtain these 45-caliber pistols from commercial channels and if the Venezuelan Embassy would be prepared to [Page 1430] send the Department a note stating that these pistols were intended for the use of the police force or would be used to replace an equal number of pistols transferred to the police force, we would be willing to license their exportation.
I assured Señor Lares that we were continuing to make every effort to assist them in obtaining quartermaster equipment.