662. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2

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  • Appointment for Venezuelan Minister of Mines

In the memorandum at Tab A Secretary Rogers requests that you grant a brief appointment to the Venezuelan Minister of Mines, Dr. Hugo PEREZ La Salvia. Dr. Perez is coming to Washington for consultations on US oil policy as the personal representative of President Caldera, who has expressed strong interest in having Perez call on you.

I think it is very important that you receive Dr. Perez for the following reasons:

  • —You have made a specific commitment to President Caldera to consult with Venezuela on US oil import policy; moreover you announced in your October 31 speech a policy of advance consultation on trade matters which affect Latin America.
  • —If President Caldera can demonstrate that his Administration has been able to present Venezuela’s views on oil to the highest level of our government it would improve the public climate in Venezuela for whatever oil import policy decision you make.
  • —Dr. Perez has been unable to obtain an appointment with you on two previous visits to Washington; failure to obtain an appointment again, at a time when Venezuelan sensitivities on oil policy are high, would be taken by the GOV as a deliberate snub and assure an unnecessarily sharp deterioration in US-Venezuelan relations.
  • —President Caldera has made every effort to maintain good relations with us; an appointment with Perez would [Page 2] give Caldera a big psychological boost, and encourage his policy of moderation, particularly with regard to our oil policies and US investments (US firms have $3 billion invested in Venezuela).

Dr. Perez will be coming to Washington during the month of February. He would adjust his schedule to suit your convenience. If you agree to grant him an appointment 15 or 20 minutes would be adequate. I do not think you would need to go into substance with Dr. Perez, but simply assure him that we will give careful consideration to Venezuela’s interests in determining our oil import policies.


That you agree to receive the Venezuelan Minister of Mines in February for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time convenient to you.

  1. 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 disapproval of the recommendation, but Nixon agreed to a meeting in Document 664.
  2. 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.