831.6363/1–2546

The Chargé in Venezuela ( Dawson ) to the Secretary of State

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67. Junta President in signed statement handed to United Press representative late evening January 23 said:

“With respect to the denouncement by a private individual that the 1943 oil law is unconstitutional, I hereby ratify the previously expressed [Page 1337] criterion of the Venezuelan Govt: we will respect the law and will cause it to be complied with. We have no intention of accepting the thesis of its unconstitutionality. Our citizens may freely express their opinions in favor of or against this thesis, because freedom of expression exists in Venezuela. But the Govt has its own point of view which is not to deny the legality of this statute regulating the relations between the Venezuelan state and oil companies in the matter of oil contracts. Likewise it is the definite criterion of the Govt to refrain from placing new burdens on capital earnings after that contained in decree No. 112, of December 31, 1945.”

Foregoing cabled today to New York by UP, which will also release it for publication locally tomorrow. Statement seems as reassuring to oil interests as can be expected although precision of language should be noted. Companies consider statement in itself satisfactory.

Dawson