The Ambassador in Venezuela (Corrigan) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11:23 p.m.]
364. Bogotá’s telegram 496, July 17, 7 p.m. Dawson returned today. López Contreras made and repeated categorical statement to Dawson in Medellín July 16 that he was not and would not be involved in any revolutionary movement and had no further political ambitions and authorized Dawson to so inform Betancourt. López Contreras said it was clear Betancourt wanted him to make public statement which would help Junta but that this he would not do until and unless it formed a national unity rather than party government [Page 1302] or turned over presidency to Chief Justice and took convincing steps to eliminate suspicions regarding fair conduct of elections. He said his only personal interest was in revindication from Junta’s “calumnies and persecution” but that he would himself take no steps to clear his name before the courts feeling that legitimate government or posterity would take care of this.
In statement released to press before Dawson’s talk with him and published in Bogotá and Medellín papers July 17 mostly unexceptionable and devoted to defense of his administration López Contreras said inter alia “the hour of rectification has arrived”. While not published in Caracas Junta undoubtedly informed of it. Its wording might be construed as incitement.
Dawson and I have meeting scheduled with Betancourt and Vargas at 8 tonight at which we will inform them of conversation with López Contreras. Delgado Chalbaud broke hip July 16 and not available but hope to see him shortly.