831.00/1–747: Telegram

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

us urgent

10. Betancourt1 called me Presidential Palace today and exhibited document bearing apparently genuine signature Lopez /Contreras2 turned over by Army officer. Reminding recipient he is Andino, document exhorted him join movement oust Acción Democrática and Dictator Betancourt, common enemies. It said Lopez has placed all political capital, moral credit, personal services and material so far available to him at disposal Col. Julio Cesar Vargas3 for purpose indicated.

“Betancourt aware Lopez visited St Domingo (mytel 587 Dec 20, 6 p.m. and 594 Dec 24 12 p.m.4) said abundant evidence exists of which we undoubtedly aware that expedition to invade Venezuela being fitted out St Domingo with aid abettance Trujillo5 (mygam 3 Jan 3, 19476). He expressed fullest confidence ability repel invasion, adding if expedition sets out he would consider Trujillo guilty act of war and immediately send Constellation bombard Ciudad Trujillo.”

He said he felt time had come for US demand Lopez, Vargas and others now in US desist conspiring, and likewise refuse permission their departure from US order prevent carrying out plans from other places. While he admitted arms, ammunition and other material obtained thru cloaks, he added most thereof must be American and that fact alone would look bad. He said he felt assured if invasion attempted Argentine would offer aid hoping thereby add to Perón’s7 anti-US bloc. He said no blocks should exist, all Republics should form single group, but one could help another as we can in this instance. Went on to say he is realist and aware we may have no particular [Page 1055] sympathy for him personally or even as head of govt, but continued he felt sure we do not approve civil war, this for loftier reasons than that we need Venezuelan oil. He feels we can help him now.

Betancourt requested I cable foregoing. Despite some faults, Oct election conducted more less cleanly overall and Constituent Assembly now sitting represents free will of people. I feel time has come to do something. Betancourt expects be advised Dept’s reaction. Please advise.

  1. Romulo Betancourt, President of the Revolutionary Junta of Government.
  2. Eleázar López Contreras, former President of Venezuela.
  3. One-time Inspector General of the Venezuelan Army.
  4. Neither printed.
  5. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, President of the Dominican Republic.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Juan D. Perón, President of Argentina.