48. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between Captain Kefauver, U.S. Navy, and the Deputy Director of the Office of South American Affairs (Sanders), Washington, May 13, 1958, 3 p.m.1


  • Dispatch of Marines to Caracas

Captain Kefauver called to say that he has orders from Admiral Burke to dispatch 500 airborne marines from Cherry Point, South [North] Carolina, immediately to Caracas, Venezuela to assure the [Page 229] protection of Vice President Nixon and his party. The marines are standing by, ready to leave, and only the clearance of the Department of State is required.

I asked the Captain who had originated the order. He replied that, so far as he knew, it had come directly from Admiral Burke, who was at the moment in a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

I told the Captain that I would relay to the Acting Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs2 the information he had conveyed, that any clearance by the Department would have to come from the highest levels, and that we would call him back.3

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/EST Files: Lot 61 D 332, Vice President Nixon’s Trip—General. Confidential. Drafted by Sanders.
  2. William P. Snow.
  3. After his conversation with Sanders, Kefauver telephoned Snow, confirmed the information he had given Sanders, and informed Snow of Admiral Burke’s desire to obtain Department of State clearance for the operation. Snow, in turn, raised the matter with Secretary Dulles and Under Secretary Herter. Dulles instructed Snow to notify Kefauver that Admiral Burke should refrain from despatching Marines at that time and to tell Kefauver that Marines should not land in Venezuela without the knowledge and consent of the Venezuelan Government. Snow and Sanders conveyed this decision to Kefauver and asked him to report the Department of State’s position to Burke. (Memorandum of conversation by Snow, May 13; Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–NI/5–1358)