Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of North and West Coast Affairs, Office of South American Affairs (Krieg)


Subject: Foreign Ministers Meeting

Participants: Dr. Otanez,1 Minister-Counselor, Embassy of Venezuela
Dr. Perez Matos,2 Secretary, Venezuelan Mission to OAS
Mr. Mann,3 Acting Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs
Ambassador Dreier, US Representative on the OAS
Mr. Krieg, Officer in Charge, North & West Coast Affairs

Dr. Otanez and Dr. Perez Matos called at Mr. Mann’s request to discuss the policy which this Government will follow at the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the American Republics. Mr. Mann handed to each of the callers a memorandum entitled “General Views of the US Government with Respect to Economic Problems in Connection with the IAM”.4 He pointed out in this connection that the paper on our military policy is still under consideration and that Ambassador Leparvanche5 had discussed internal security with Ambassador Dreier and Mr. Spalding on another occasion. The economic portion of the agenda would undoubtedly require the most attention from the Foreign Ministers, and it was on that subject that Mr. Mann said he wished to talk with the Venezuelans.

Mr. Mann commenced by emphasizing that the principles included in the memorandum have been accepted by all appropriate branches of the U.S. Government; they therefore represent a great deal more than the views of the Department of State. Resolutions will be drawn up covering the general principles set forth in the memorandum. The text of the draft resolutions should be ready in about a week, and Mr. Mann said he would be glad to discuss them with Dr. Otanez if the latter wished. Dr. Otanez replied that he was more interested in the basic principles than in the detailed wording and pointed out that Foreign Minister Gomez Ruiz6 is leaving Venezuela on the 14th. Dr. Otanez went on to say that the principal difficulty at the present time lies with allocations and priorities. The Embassy staff, he said, are referred from one office to another among the defense agencies and [Page 947] after a wearisome procedure are finally informed that arrangements should be made first with a manufacturer after which the subject of priority could be considered. The manufacturer, in turn, states that they cannot accept orders without a priority.

Mr. Mann admitted that there is much confusion at the present time and pointed out that our emergency governmental organization is still in the process of being created. He had every expectation that it would improve in effectiveness with the passage of a few months and that in the meantime the Department is prepared to give all possible help and assistance to the Venezuelans in procuring materials essential to their economy. Mr. Mann emphasized, however, that we are facing a real emergency. We must first arm the United States, and then we must arm Western Europe, which is in the fore front of the battle line against Soviet aggression. The question of arms for Japan must be considered, and Indo-China is immediately threatened and fighting is actually going on in Korea, Mr. Mann went on, and is consuming large amounts of materials and men; he pointed out that United Nations troops in Korea have suffered 50,000 casualties to date. In these circumstances, he continued, there are bound to be scarcities of essential materials, and we must all share these shortages and the consequent hardships. It cannot be expected that the Latin American countries will be able to purchase everything they want while the emergency lasts, but he wished to assure the Venezuelans that we will make every effort to see that their essential requirements are attended to.

There followed a discussion of some of the points listed in the memorandum, and Dr. Otanez indicated general approval of the statements made. Ambassador Dreier said he would greatly appreciate receiving the views of the Venezuelan Government on these points, and Dr. Otanez said he would be glad to inform us as soon as he had received his Government’s comments.

  1. Aureliano Otañez.
  2. Martin Perez Matos.
  3. Thomas C. Mann.
  4. Not printed.
  5. René Léparvanche Parparcén, Colombian Representative to the COAS.
  6. Luis Emilio Gómez Ruiz.