The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mann) to the Ambassador in Venezuela (Warren)

top secret

Dear Fletch: Maury will answer your letter to him of December 51 and he will know more than I do about the strategy of the timing and manner of approaching the Venezuelans. This note is limited to one point:

As you say in your letter of December 6,2 it is one thing for Venezuela to express a willingness to pay for military supplies when everybody else is required to do so, and quite another thing to persist in such willingness once they realize that they are the only country in Latin America which has a role to play in hemisphere defense which is not being offered military grant aid. This was precisely my concern and the reason for my suggestion that we inform the Venezuelans about our plans for disbursing military grant aid. We would hope that when the Venezuelans are apprised of all the facts they would continue to be willing to completely pay their own way.

On the other hand if there is to be an adverse reaction—if the Venezuelans show resentment and consider that they are being discriminated [Page 1672] against—then my thought was that we should know this as soon as possible so as to go to the Joint Chiefs of Staff before it is too late and have some of the military grant funds allocated to them. I cannot predict whether the Joint Chiefs will agree with us, but given the strategic importance of our interests in Venezuela, I would assume they would consider it prejudicial to the national interest to carry through with their original plans. The fact that the Joint Chiefs have approved a paragraph concerning the Venezuelan problem would support this assumption.

Accordingly if, after advising the Venezuelans, in your opinion our failure to include them in the military grant program would be prejudicial to our overall interests, we would like to know this and attempt to get them included.

I wanted to emphasize this in view of an impression which I got from your letter that you understand our purpose to be to stand firm regardless of what the Venezuelan reaction is.

With kind personal regards,


Thomas C. Mann
  1. Not printed.
  2. Supra. Ambassador Warren had sent a copy of his letter of December 6 addressed to Mr. Bernbaum to Mr. Mann.