40. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs (Flanigan)1

    • Consultations with Venezuela and Canada on U.S. Oil Import Program

We have a special responsibility to consult fully with Venezuela on our oil import policy. We should also consult with Canada. I would therefore appreciate your keeping the following in mind, and advising the relevant agencies as necessary:

We should consult with—not just inform—the Venezuelans and Canadians on our thinking on the Task Force study as it proceeds.
When a final decision is made by the President, we should inform the Venezuelans as far in advance of its being made public as is practicable, and receive their comments.
In the meantime, if, while deliberation on the Task Force study goes on, the Executive Branch makes any significant change in current policy, e.g. “cleaning up” the present quota program, which affects Venezuela or Canada, their governments should be informed in advance and the problems explained and discussed with them. Since these kinds of change are most likely to be Executive acts, in most cases by the Interior Department, Interior and other departments and agencies should be informed of our commitment to consult with Venezuela on such changes. The Puerto Rican preference is a particular case in point; if changes are to be decreed there, failure to consult with Venezuela would expose us to a charge of bad faith and a betrayal of the President’s explicit and firm commitment. Similar preparatory work should be done with Canada.2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Subject Files, Confidential Files, Box 63, [CF] TA 4/Oil 1–20–69 to 2–28–70. Confidential.
  2. Flanigan sent a January 27 memorandum to Hickel noting “we have gone to the limit with Venezuela with regard to the upcoming submission of the Cabinet Task Force report.” (Ibid.)