Venezuela


654. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, February 5, 1969, 11:30 a.m.

Special emissaries of President-elect Caldera met with Secretary of State Rogers to explore issues that would arise between the two nations, especially concerning petroleum.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. Drafted by Hill. Attached was a note that read, “Not reviewed and cleared.” The meeting took place in the Secretary’s Office. According to Roger’s appointment book, the meeting took place between 11:35 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. (Personal Papers of William P. Rogers, Appointment Books)


655. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the Assistant to the President (Ellsworth), Washington, February 26, 1969.

National Security Council staff member Vaky discussed the importance of Venezuelan oil exports to both the U.S. and Venezuelan economies. He stated that if Venezuelan oil exports dropped, extremist movements in the nation would become more powerful.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. Drafted by Nachmanoff. Printed from a copy that Vaky did not initial. The attached February 15 letter from Rogers to Hickel was not found. For more information on the President’s decision to review oil import policies, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IV, Foreign Assistance, International Development, and Trade Policies, 1969–1972, Document 182.


656. Intelligence Note 240 From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, April 4, 1969.

President Caldera legalized the Venezuelan Communist Party in an attempt to isolate the guerrilla movements in the country. The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) predicted it would have little impact on guerrilla activity in the country.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–9 VEN. Secret.


657. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, April 23, 1969, 10:45–11:15 a.m.

Department of Defense officials and their Venezuelan counterparts discussed insurgency in and U.S. assistance to Venezuela.

Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files, FRC 330–72A–6309, Venezuela, 1969, Confidential. It was drafted by Lang and approved on April 25 by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Ware. Copies of this conversation were sent to the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, DASD–IA (ISA), IAW (ISA), OASD, IXR (ISA). The meeting was held in Secretary Laird’s office in the Pentagon.


658. Airgram A–255 From the Embassy in Venezuela to the Department of State, June 13, 1969.

The Embassy reported that fear of public disorder prompted President Caldera to postpone Rockefeller’s visit.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 2 VEN. Confidential. It was drafted on June 12 by Sleght and approved by Walters. According to a CIA report, student protests and strikes had become so common by May that the Minister of Education suspended classes in the public secondary schools. Caldera feared that he would have to bring in the military to control student protesters during the Rockefeller visit, which could have weakened the political system. (LA Staff Note No. 6–69, Washington, June 19, 1969; Central Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Office, Job 79–T00968A. Prepared by the Office of National Estimates)


659. Telegram 5819 From the Embassy in Venezuela to the Department of State, December 2, 1969, 0020Z.

Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Francis Herron reported President Calderas’s request that the U.S. Government consult with Venezuela before making a final decision on petroleum import policy. Herron further indicated that Caldera stated that U.S. preferential treatment for petroleum from Canada and Mexico damaged U.S. relations with Venezuela.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, PET 17–2 VEN. Limited Official Use; Immediate.


660. Airgram A–10 From the Embassy in Venezuela to the Department of State, January 9, 1970.

Private-sector groups in Venezuela strongly disliked the U.S. Government’s announcement of its 1970 petroleum import quotas. Lack of consultation with Venezuelan leaders, preferential treatment for Canada, and fear of a future erosion of Venezuela’s petroleum market share in the United States explained the reaction.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 2 VEN. Confidential. It was drafted by Luers; cleared in draft by Fimbres; and approved by Walters. It was repeated to COMANTDEFCOM, COMCARIBSEAFRON, USSOUTHCOM, COMUSAFSO, Addis Ababa, Bogotá, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Georgetown, Guatemala, London, Mexico City, Panama, Port of Spain, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Santo Domingo, the Consulate in Curaçao, and Paramaribo. A stamped notation on the Airgram indicates that it was received at the Department of State at 3:23 p.m. on January 12 and at the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs on January 14.


661. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, January 26, 1970.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger outlined the arguments for inviting Western Hemisphere chiefs of state, including President Caldera, during the first half of 1970, to Washington.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 943, VIP Visits, Venezuela, Visit of President Caldera 3–4 June 1970. Confidential. Sent for action. It was drafted by Vaky on January 23. This is printed from a copy that bears Kissinger’s stamped initials with an indication that he signed the original. Attached but not published at Tab A is a January 20 memorandum from Rogers to Nixon. Neither recommendation was checked, but in a February 3 memorandum from Chapin to Kissinger, Chapin confirmed that the President agreed to Caldera’s visit in the first half of the year. (Ibid.)


662. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, February 2, 1970.

In order to improve U.S.-Venezuelan relations, Kissinger urged President Nixon to meet with Dr. Hugo Perez, the Venezuelan Minister of Mines. On his two previous visits to the United States, Perez had been unable to obtain an appointment with the President; Kissinger was concerned that, if the President decided not to meet with him for a third time, the perception that Perez was being snubbed could possibly damage U.S. relations with Venezuela.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. Sent for action. Written on the front was “Returned to Kissinger 2/3.” Tab A was not found. There was no indication of approval nor disapproved of the recommendation, but Nixon agreed to a meeting in Document 664.


663. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) Washington, February 5, 1970.

National Security Council staff member Vaky informed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger of President Caldera’s unhappiness that Canada received a substantial preference over Venezuela for oil exports. Vaky warned that Venezuela’s smaller export quota would foster strong, nationalistic, anti-United States movements, and concluded that Caldera would address the question in his upcoming meeting with President Nixon.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. Sent for information. Attached but not published at Tab A is telegram 588 from Caracas, February 5.


664. Memorandum From Senior Military Assistant to the President General Alexander Haig, Jr. of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs (Flanigan), Washington, February 14, 1970.

Senior Military Assistant to the President Haig desired to confirm President Nixon’s meeting with Venezuelan Minister of Mines Hugo Perez. Haig informed President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs Flanigan that if the President had declined to meet with Perez, who was a personal friend of President Caldera’s, it was likely to have serious consequences for U.S. relations with Venezuela.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential.


665. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, undated.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger provided a briefing memorandum covering the issues Venezuelan Minister of Mines Hugo Perez might bring up in a meeting with the President. The topics included petroleum exports, Caldera’s state visit, the vacancy in the U.S. ambassadorship, and increased tensions between Venezuela and Guyana.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. Sent for information. A note on the document indicates the memorandum was returned to Kissinger on March 2. Tabs A, B, and C were not attached. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon met with Perez, Ambassador Julio Sosa, Assistant Secretary of State Meyer, and his Assistant for International Economic Affairs Flanigan, and members of the press from 12:22 p.m. to 12:35 p.m. on February 27. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary.) No other record of the conversation has been found.


666. Memorandum of Meeting, Washington, June 4, 1970, 10 a.m.

Presidents Nixon and Caldera discussed the Venezuelan petroleum quota, parity treatment with Canada, military assistance, the economic development of southern Venezuela, and the Venezuela-Guyana border dispute.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 943, VIP Visits, Venezuela, Visit of President Caldera, 3–4 June 1970. Confidential; Exdis. The meeting took place in the President’s Office. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the participants met from 10:09 to 10:50 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) Ambassador Robert McClintock drafted a memorandum of the same meeting that included discussion of road construction in South America, and a statement to the press about Caldera’s visit. No evidence of the statement has been found. To conclude the meeting, in response to Caldera’s invitation to visit Venezuela, Nixon supported the idea in principle but did not foresee overseas travel in the near future. (Ibid.)


667. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers and Secretary of Defense Laird, Washington, June 5, 1970.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger passed on President Nixon’s directive to the Departments of State and Defense to discuss with the Venezuelans their military needs and determine what the U.S. Government could to fulfill them. President Nixon asked for a status report by August 15.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential; Limdis. A copy was sent to the Chairman of the JCS. The status report, dated August 14, is Document 670.


668. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary Rogers and the Administration of the Agency for International Development (Hannah), Washington, June 5, 1970.

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger passed on President Nixon’s directive to the Department of State and the Agency for International Development (AID) to come up with a plan to assist Venezuela in implementing its CODESUR development program for Southern Venezuela, and asked for a status report on what had been done by September 1.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. A copy was sent to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, and the President of the Export-Import Bank. The status report is printed as Document 671.


669. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, June 30, 1970

Executive Secretary Eliot provided a progress report on actions taken in the month following President Caldera’s visit in four major areas of U.S. policy towards Venezuela: oil, military equipment, CODESUR, and trade.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 VEN. Confidential. Drafted on June 26 by Robinson; cleared in draft by McClintock, Spence, Erickson, Sinn, and Slott; cleared in draft by Klein is the portion on CODESUR; and cleared by Crimmins and Meyer. R.C. Brewster signed for Eliot above Eliot’s typeset signature. Kissinger’s memorandum to General Lincoln and Assistant Flanigan has not been found. Kissinger’s June 5 memorandum to the Secretaries of State and Defense is Document 667, and his June 5 memorandum to the Secretary of State and the Administrator of AID is Document 668.


670. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, August 14, 1970.

Executive Secretary Eliot informed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger that United States and Venezuelan officials had begun consultations on how the Nixon administration could meet Venezuela’s military needs. Eliot concluded by stating that the U.S. Congress was holding up foreign military sales (FMS) sales to Venezuela.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential; Limdis. Robert L. Brown signed for Eliot. The Thirty-Day Progress Report, dated June 30, is Document 669.


671. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, August 28, 1970.

Executive Secretary Eliot informed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger that the Department of State had begun discussions with Venezuelan officials to come up with a plan to promote the development of Southern Venezuela. He reported that the Venezuelans had found U.S. efforts helpful.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. For the June 30 progress report, see Document 669. For the June 5 memorandum to the Secretary of State and Administrator of AID, see Document 668. The progress report discussed in the conclusion is referenced in the source note to Document 674.


672. Telegram 4879 From the Embassy in Venezuela to the Department of State, October 28, 1970, 1639Z.

Ambassador McClintock recounted his discussion with President Caldera in which they discussed Caldera’s June 1970 visit to the United States, U.S. military assistance to Venezuela, and Caldera’s desire to export more oil to the United States.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 VEN. Secret.


673. Telegram 1516 From the Embassy in Venezuela to the Department of State, March 29, 1971, 2201Z.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Calvani and Ambassador McClintock discussed comments made by Secretary of State Rogers about Venezuelan Petroleum legislation in testimony before the U.S. Congress.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL VEN. Confidential; Priority.


674. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, April 22, 1971.

After summarizing a Department of State memorandum on U.S. efforts to aid Venezuela in developing its southern region, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger informed President Nixon that Secretary State Rogers had instructed the U.S. Ambassador in Venezuela to enter into conversations with the Venezuelans to implement Washington’s blueprint in this area.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. Sent for information. Attached but not published at Tab A is a February 23 memorandum from Rogers to the President.


675. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, April 29, 1971, 5 p.m.

President’s Assistant Peter Flanigan stated that Venezuela’s increase in taxes on U.S. oil and mining companies meant there was little chance of giving Venezuela hemispheric preference for oil exports to the Untied States. Flanigan also stated that the United States might refuse to accept Venezuelan national gas into the United States.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of North Coast Affairs, Records Relating to Venezuela: Lot 76 D 465, PET 17–2. Secret; Limited Distribution Only. Drafted on April 30 by Ambassador McClintock. Copies sent to the Undersecretary, Trezise, Meyer, and McClintock.


676. Memorandum From Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, July 1, 1971.

The Venezuelan Congress was on the verge of passing petroleum and gas legislation that would potentially hurt the interests of U.S. companies operating there.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Confidential. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the first page of the document. Written in the top right-hand corner was “Hold HAK [Kissinger].” Attached but not published at Tab A is a June 28 memorandum from Rogers entitled “Pending Venezuelan Petroleum and Gas Legislation.”


677. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to President Nixon, Washington, July 5, 1971.

President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Haig informed President Nixon that the Departments of State and Defense, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) all argued against selling F–4s to Venezuela. The Departments of Commerce and Treasury advocated the sale. Haig recommended Nixon not make the sale.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 796, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 1, 1969–1971. Secret; Nodis. Sent for action. Haig initialed for Kissinger who approved for the President. Attached but not published are Tabs A, B, C, and D. Tab A is an undated draft of telegram 126467 from the Department of State to Caracas; Tab B is telegrams 3471 and 3621 from the Embassy in Caracas, dated June 23 and July 1, respectively; Tab C is a July 2 memorandum from Rogers to Nixon; and Tab D is a July 1 memorandum from Walker to Nixon and a June 25 memorandum from Stans to Kissinger.


678. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, January 12, 1972.

Even though both Venezuela and the United States considered their Reciprocal Trade Agreement obsolete, Venezuela’s unilateral decision to terminate it raised the issue of whether or not the United States would maintain special, lower tariffs on imports of oil from Venezuela. Executive Secretary Eliot informed President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger the Department of State would keep him informed of proposals to deal with the problems posed by Venezuela’s decision.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 797, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 2, 1972. Confidential, with LOU attachment. Brewster signed for Eliot. Caldera stated that the decision to rescind the treaty would bolster Venezuelan nationalism, and strengthen the economy of the country. (Airgram A–20 from Caracas, January 19, ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 2 VEN)


679. Telegram 1073 From the Embassy in Venezuela to the Department of State, February 9, 1972, 1620Z.

Ambassador McClintock recommended that President Nixon write to President Caldera to mitigate the Venezuelan Government’s negative reaction to U.S. petroleum policy toward the country.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 797, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 2, 1972. Secret; Priority; Exdis. A stamped notation on the telegram indicates that it was received in the White House Situation Room at 5:15 p.m. on February 9. Caldera’s December 31, 1971 letter to Nixon informed him that Venezuela would unilaterally terminate the Reciprocal Trade Agreement between itself and the United States. (ibid., Box 765, Presidential Correspondence, 1969–1974, Venezuela, President Caldera) Nixon responded to Caldera’s letter on February 17, in which he proposed to start negotiations with Venezuela on the United States-Venezuela trading relationship. (ibid.)


680. Telegram 1609 From the Embassy in Venezuela to the Department of State, March 2, 1972, 1525Z.

President Caldera defended the timing of his decision to rescind the Reciprocal Trade Agreement, and voiced disappointment that Venezuela had not received hemispheric trade preferences for petroleum. Caldera agreed to start negotiations, which President Nixon had proposed in a letter to him.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 797, Country Files, Latin America, Venezuela, Vol. 2, 1972. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Nixon’s letter to Caldera is referenced in the source note to Document 679. Telegrams 29285 and 31327 from the Department, February 18 and 23, respectively, are ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, PET 1 US.


681. Telegram 3557 From the U.S. Mission in the United Nations, New York, September 29, 1972, 0012Z.

This telegram transmitted a memorandum of conversation that had taken place earlier that day at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in which U.S. and Venezuelan officials largely agreed on petroleum policy, but disagreed about a policy to combat terrorism. They also discussed the world disarmament conference and Cuba.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 2 VEN. Confidential. It was repeated information to Caracas.


682. National Intelligence Estimate 89–72, Washington, October 19, 1972.

This estimate concluded that, because Venezuelan leaders were concerned about declining oil reserves, Venezuela would probably agree to a long-term United States-Venezuelan treaty on petroleum which would meet the needs of the petroleum companies, and both nations.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 361, Subject Files, National Intelligence Estimates. Secret; Controlled Dissem. The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, and the NSA participated in the preparation of this estimate. The Director of CIA submitted this estimate with the concurrence of all members of the USIB except the representative of the FBI who abstained on the grounds that it was outside its jurisdiction.