530. Editorial Note

On December 10, 1965, President Johnson signed Proclamation 3693, “Modifying Proclamation 3279 Adjusting Imports of Petroleum and Petroleum Products.” (30 Federal Register 15459) The proclamation met the concerns of the petrochemical industry in Puerto Rico, but Venezuelan concerns for equal treatment under the oil import program were not addressed. At the press conference announcing the proclamation, Secretary of Interior Udall admitted that the negotiations with Canada and Venezuela had not produced “the type of ultimate consensus that could have resulted in changes.” (Proceedings, December 10; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Office of Fuels and Energy, Petroleum Files: Lot 69 D 76, Petroleum 17–2, Oil Imports, 1965 December) In an accompanying press statement, however, Udall proposed continuing discussions with Venezuela and recognized “that the oil industry in Venezuela has a special position in the contribution it makes to Western Hemisphere security.” (Circular telegram CA–6451, December 22; ibid., Central Files 1964–66, PET 17–2 US)

On December 21 the Department of Interior issued several amendments to the oil import regulation, including an increase in the allocation for imports to the eastern United States and Puerto Rico, two [Page 1103]markets traditionally dominated by the oil industry in Venezuela. (30 Federal Register 16080) Although the amended regulations did not specify a system of country quotas, the Department of State estimated that Venezuela could reasonably expect to increase its oil imports by 35,000 barrels per day. (Telegram 512 to Caracas, December 22; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, PET 17–2 US) The Department was encouraged by the initial reaction in Venezuela to the proclamation, thereby justifying “the efforts which Ambassador Bernbaum and the Department made to have references to the Venezuelan problem included in Secretary Udall’s press statement.” (Memorandum from Hill to Vaughn, December 15; ibid., ARA/NC/V Files: Lot 66 D 469, PET 17–2 U.S. Import Program, July–September 1965)

On December 31 the Leoni government informed the oil companies of a new regulation governing discounts on its residual fuel oil, a measure designed to raise revenue by raising the price of exports to the United States. (Washington National Records Center, E/CBA/REP Files: FRC 72 A 6248, Current Economic Developments, No. 745, January 18, 1966)