50. Memorandum of Conversation1

US/MC–14

SUBJECT

  • Cuban Subversion in Venezuela

PARTICIPANTS

  • United States
    • President Johnson
    • Mr. Walt Rostow
    • Assistant Secretary Gordon
    • Assistant Secretary Solomon
    • Mr. Neil A. Seidenman, Interpreter
  • Venezuela
    • President Leoni
    • Sr. Ignacio Iribarren Borges, Foreign Minister of Venezuela

The President assured President Leoni that we are equally concerned with Venezuela about the matter of communist aggression. We have been gratified by Venezuela’s actions against Cuba. We support Venezuela’s position against Cuba in the OAS. We believe that measures against Cuba by the OAS need even more tightening up. We would also hope that Venezuela will have suggestions for further moves in this direction. We will welcome all the noise that Venezuela can make about Cuba in the OAS.

President Leoni mentioned the assassination of the brother of Minister Iribarren Borges.2 He said that Venezuela has evidence that points to Cuban responsibility for this act, including material that has come to them in print from Havana. Venezuela intends to make a case against Cuba on this score in the OAS. Before initiating this action, Venezuela is carefully examining all of the details involved, inasmuch as it wishes to gather sufficient and convincing evidence and consult with President Johnson and the State Department as well as with the governments of other member countries. Venezuela wants to proceed in this way, so that whatever decision is taken—and Venezuela itself will not [Page 127]be asking for any specific decision—it will be on a unanimous basis, if this is possible.

The President reiterated his desire to cooperate with the Venezuelans in the work of facing the trials they are going through. He reiterated our support for Venezuela’s cause in the OAS against Cuba, which he said he hoped they would pursue with aggressiveness; we want to be of help in the matter of military equipment if we can—because we don’t want Venezuela to have to wait one minute to chase the communists.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 IA–SUMMIT. Confidential. Drafted by Seidenman and approved in the White House on April 28. The memorandum of conversation is part 3 of 3; for parts 1 and 2, see Documents 540 and 541. According to George Christian, the meeting was held at Leoni’s residence in Punta del Este. (Press statement, April 11; Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary) President Johnson attended the Punta del Este Conference April 11–April 14.
  2. Dr. Julio Iribarren Borges, former Director of Social Security, was assassinated on March 3.
  3. For further discussion of this matter, see Document 541.