File No. 763.72/3826

The Brazilian Ambassador ( Da Gama ) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: I have this moment received from my Government instructions to advise that of your excellency that on yesterday his passports were handed to the Minister of Germany at Rio de Janeiro and a telegram was sent to our Minister at Berlin [Page 252] instructing him to ask for his, thus bringing to an end the diplomatic relations of Brazil with that Empire.

By note of February 9 last, Brazil protested against the manner in which the German Government seeks to hamper maritime commerce with the enemy countries and declared that Government responsible for injuries to persons or property of Brazilian citizens in the lawful exercise of their rights on the high seas if proved to be in violation of the principles of international law or of the conventions signed between the two countries. And in order to remove all doubts on that point our Legation at Berlin, on February 13, notified the German Government that “we consider essential to be the maintenance of relations with Germany that no Brazilian vessel be attacked in any way and under any pretext whatsoever, even that of carrying contraband of war, the belligerents having included everything in that category.”

My Government was grieved to learn of the sinking of the Brazilian steamer Paraná at 11 p.m. on the 3d of this month while approaching the port of Cherbourg at reduced speed and showing the regulation lights and also in large illuminated letters the word “Brasil.” The ship was not summoned to stop for an examination of her papers and cargo, was torpedoed without warning, five cannon shots being fired into her besides. Although nearby and in full sight, the submarine extended no assistance to the shipwrecked crew. Several Brazilians lost their lives, others were injured in that brutal attack on a ship of a neutral country. The President of the United States of Brazil judged that the incident left no room for explanations or diplomatic negotiations with the Government of Germany towards which that of Brazil has ever fulfilled its promises and obligations freely entered into and, to his regret to be sure, resolved to break our diplomatic and commercial relations with the German Empire.

I avail myself [etc.]

Domicio da Gama