The Ambassador in Venezuela (Corrigan) to the Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs (Braden)


Dear Spruille: As you will have gathered from our recent telegrams and despatches, the political situation here is most uncertain and almost anything may happen. Obviously, with registration for the elections begun, it is to the interest of all concerned that the elections be held in a calm atmosphere of complete fairness although some hotheads may not see it that way.

The preoccupation of the Junta with the possibility of revolution is shown by the fact that its three leading members, Rómulo Betancourt, Lt. Col. Carlos Delgado Chalbaud and Major Mario Vargas, asked me to dine with them in private the night before last. They went into the whole question with apparent frankness and asked me, in the interests of Venezuela’s well-being, to get word to General López Contreras,2 now in Medellín, as to my judgment of the local situation in the hope that that would help him to form an unbiased opinion and thus exercise his influence toward moderation. Some of the revolutionary plotters here have been invoking the General’s name and the Junta triumvirate fear that he has been completely misinformed by his local lieutenants, of which there is some evidence in his telegram of June 19 to Delgado Chalbaud and Vargas.

My own impression is that López Contreras would never countenance a revolution in his name unless he thought that something very akin to complete totalitarianism had settled down on Venezuela which is hardly the case. I do, however, agree with the triumvirate that it would be well for him to get impartial information and that this Embassy is in the best possible position to act as a friend of both parties in the matter. I asked the triumvirate what they would think [Page 1299] of my having Allan Dawson3 go over and talk to López Contreras and they expressed complete satisfaction.

I am consequently having Dawson leave for Bogotá tomorrow, the earliest he could get plane reservations, as indicated in my telegram No. 355 of July 13, 1 p.m. …4

  1. Former President Eleázar López Contreras.
  2. Counselor of Embassy.
  3. Not printed.