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Joint Statement Following Discussions With the President of Venezuela.

February 20, 1963

THE PRESIDENT of the United States of America and the President of the Republic of Venezuela in the past two days discussed development in the Western Hemisphere which involve two countries whose friendship, nurtured in the youth of our Republics by Francisco de Miranda, Simon Bolivar, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Henry Clay, today stands as a symbol of the successful effort in our countries to satisfy man's aspirations for a better life with dignity and freedom.

The two Presidents considered carefully the ways in which Venezuela and the United States could most effectively further the objectives of the Alliance for Progress. They considered also the gravity of the situation created by establishment in Cuba of an alien, anti-democratic stronghold from which emanate threats to the independence and sovereignty of each of the free American Republics.

The two Presidents look to the Organization of American States to use all means within its power to ensure the continuity of the democratic process in the Member States; and they urge the Member States for their part to strengthen inter-American friendship, solidarity, and security by giving full, active, and immediate support to programs of the Organization of American States for the social and economic development of the Hemisphere.

It was noted that great advances had been made in Alliance for Progress social and economic reforms in the Republic of Venezuela under the enlightened leadership of the Betancourt Government. The President of the United States pledged the full support of his country to the Republic of Venezuela in resisting the all-out campaign of the international Communists, aided especially by their Cuban allies, to overthrow the constitutional Government of President Betancourt.

The two Presidents reviewed the development of Venezuela's oil exports to the United States since the inception of the Mandatory Import Program. They noted that a strong position of Venezuela in the world petroleum market is fundamental to the social and economic development of Venezuela.

They recognized that the United States has been Venezuela's largest market and are confident that it will continue to be so on an expanding scale. They also recognized that Venezuela has been an essential and consistent supplier of petroleum to the United States and to the free world in times of peace and in periods of emergency.

The two Presidents concluded that Venezuela's position in the United States petroleum market is therefore a matter of continuing concern to both governments and that Venezuela's vital interest will be recognized in the administration of the United States oil import program. They agreed that there should be periodic exchanges of information and views, at a technical level, with the goal of reaching a better understanding on problems pertaining to the oil trade between the two countries.

They also agreed that the United States would review in advance with Venezuela such substantive changes in the oil import program as the United States may contemplate in the future.

The Presidents agreed that a strong and healthy petroleum industry is essential to Venezuela's prosperity, to the achievement of the goals set by the Alliance for Progress and for the security of the Hemisphere as a whole.

In conclusion, the two Presidents expressed their gratification at the opportunity thus afforded them to confer together in person, thus continuing a direct interchange initiated at Caracas in 1961. Their meeting at Washington has been one more demonstration of solidarity in dealing with disruptive forces that assail the freedom and the peace of this Hemisphere. The two Presidents affirmed cooperative efforts for making the possibility and the opportunity of progress available to all the American peoples; and they reaffirmed energetically, as Chiefs of State and as citizens, their mutual inalterable respect for civil rights and human dignity.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With the President of Venezuela. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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