Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of North and West Coast Affairs (Wells)

Participants: Mr. James H. Wright, Director, ARA
Mr. Robert F. Woodward, Deputy Director, ARA
Colonel Woodson F. Hocker, War Department (G–2, American Republics Section)
Commander Edgar G. Thompson, ONI
Mr. Allan Dawson, BA
Mr. Milton K. Wells, NWC

At the Under Secretary’s17 suggestion, representatives of the War and Navy Departments were called in to be informed of the very serious view the Department is taking of Venezuelan political developments, which threaten a new revolutionary attempt with possible international complications due to aid being given Venezuelan exiles by the Dominican Republic. A general discussion was had of the situation.

Mr. Wright expressed the Department’s feeling that a revolution would likely result in a bloody and drawn-out civil war. While the crisis may pass, information regarding revolutionary plotting disclosed by the Eisenhardt investigation requires that we be particularly alert. The potential danger to the Venezuelan oil supply is cause for serious concern. The consensus of those present was that the period between now and the forthcoming elections (date not yet fixed but probably in November) is likely to be the most critical; that, if a revolution does not occur before then, the new administration will be in a better position to effect a conciliation with the opposition. Mr. Wright said he had no specific suggestions to make, except to urge that War and Navy follow the situation as closely as possible by maintaining adequate coverage in the field, and to be thinking about what steps, if any, would be called for in case trouble breaks out.

  1. Robert A. Lovett.