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

No. 9003

Sir: I have the honor to report that the Commercial Attaché50 had on July 19, 1946, a conversation with Dr. J. M. Herrera Mendoza, President of the Administration of Nationalized Properties, concerning the extent to which the Government of Venezuela had implemented, or intended to implement, the two decrees (Decree No. 176 of February 13, 1946, as reported in despatch No. 8442 of February 21, 1946, and Decree No. 232 of April 3, 1946, as reported in despatch No. 8599 of [Page 1327] April 8, 194651) concerning the nationalization of German and Japanese assets in Venezuela.

In accordance with Decree No. 176 of February 13, 1946, the Administration of Nationalized Properties has been organized for some months and is exercising a strict control over all German and Japanese assets which were frozen ipso jure. In addition, the Administration is also in control of all the funds blocked by decrees and resolutions issued during the war years as a result of economic warfare activities. No sale, transfer, or movement of tangible or intangible assets, including, of course, bank accounts, can be effected by German or Japanese nationals without obtaining the express permission of the Administration. To date, according to the President of the Administration, the only permissions granted have been to several needy Japanese and German nationals who were authorized to draw from their “frozen” bank accounts a small amount per month for subsistence in accordance with Decree No. 232 of April 3, 1946.

The National Court for War Reparations, also established by Decree No. 176 of February 13, 1946, has not yet begun to function. The President of this special Court is the Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Dr. Lorenzo Herrera Mendoza. Inquiry reveals that this Court will begin operations in the very near future. The function of the Court is to determine, in accordance with the terms of Decree No. 176 of February 13, 1946, whether national persons of German or Japanese nationality, resident in Venezuela, shall be required to forfeit their wealth and property as war reparations to the Venezuelan Government. In this connection the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior are reported to have accumulated during recent months a large amount of information and evidence concerning German and Japanese nationals in Venezuela and such evidence will be presented to the Court. Presumably, at the same time, the Court will hear the pleadings of the nationals affected so that judgment may be rendered after knowledge of both sides of the case.

Respectfully yours,

Frank P. Corrigan
  1. Charles F. Knox.
  2. Neither printed.