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

u.s. urgent

357. Deptel 287, July 14. Complete information is contained in despatch reporting conversation with Junta leaders4 and including [Page 1300] memorandum from me to Dawson outlining limits of his proposed conversation with López Contreras. Delicacy of this matter is fully appreciated and I am grateful for Dept’s expression of confidence. My presence was at the request of Betancourt and when he broached the subject I carefully considered the intervention angle and made it very clear that we would not intervene in Venezuelan internal affairs although always willing to help on friendly basis. My specific disclaimer and Govt’s clearly demonstrated initiative rule out idea of intervention. They expressed wish for a friendly interchange with López Contreras which would afford him accurate information regarding their views of present situation. They indicated their belief that since I enjoy confidence of López Contreras in addition to theirs I could handle this. Betancourt’s friendship and confidence in Dawson makes him uniquely useful. I am positive that they would not want an official representative of Colombian or any other Govt brought in at this time. Their desire is for discussions in friendly and confidential atmosphere which would be disturbed by such action. Therefore I am concerned lest Dept’s suggestion for association of one or preferably two other American Republics elevate whole matter to official or diplomatic level by giving official significance to what is now family matter in which we are playing the part of family friend. Dawson is now in Bogotá and expected to go to Medellín today. Please instruct him accordingly.

Repeated Bogotá.

  1. Not printed.