Memorandum by Mr. Austin J. Rittenhouse of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs15


Subject: Conversation with Junta “Triumvirate”.

The principal reason to converse privately with Ambassador Corrigan was their concern over the attitude of López Contreras toward an armed movement under his leadership. The Junta expressed the desire to avoid civil war or to at least lessen the cleavage between various factions in the country despite the fact that the government could put down any revolt and would do so pitilessly. The purpose of the meeting was to call on Ambassador Corrigan as an old friend and confidant to supply López Contreras with correct information and avert the danger of an uprising and its tragic consequences.

Stating that the U.S. had no desire to mix in Venezuela’s internal affairs, yet would lend whatever assistance we properly could as friendly neighbors, the Ambassador asked that the triumvirate make their ideas perfectly clear so as to lead to no misunderstanding. The points were:

Elections to be held on schedule, free and without duress.
To revolt would impede the electoral process.
The Junta has no rancor against López Contreras and hopes he will not stain his reputation by supporting a revolt.
Set out what the ex-president would be offered for the future:
Right to appeal the judgment against him
Should be able to return to Venezuela once Constitutional Convention has been elected and installed.

The Ambassador suggested sending Allan Dawson and the triumvirate expressed their full confidence in him. Dr. Corrigan points out that it is his opinion that López Contreras would not countenance a revolution in his name unless he honestly felt that things had progressed to the point of totalitarian rule and such is not the situation.

  1. Addressed to NWC: Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Hall and Mr. Wells; to ARA: Mr. Briggs; and to A–Br: Mr. Wright.