File No. 763.72/3826

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

No. 118

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th [12th] instant whereby you acquaint me with the severance by your Government of the diplomatic relations between Brazil and the German Empire because of the unjustifiable sinking of the Brazilian steamship Paraná by a German torpedo boat, without warning or exercise of visit and search according to the rules of international law, and with the loss of Brazilian life.

This act, in flagrant disregard of all the accepted tenets of international law and of the fundamental law of humanity, is but another instance of the ruthless international unmorality of the German Government and its utter contempt for the established rights of neutrals. The United States discerns in it a parallel to the repeated overt acts of savagery committed against American ships. My country has been constrained to treat these deeds as constituting a manifest aggression by Germany against a pacific neutral state which renders the continuance of normal relations impossible. The destruction of the Paraná puts Brazil in the same category with the United States as a victim of unjustifiable wrong-doing. For us, no recourse was open save the recognition of the fact that war was actually being made upon our flag, and nothing remained for us but fulfilment of [Page 256] the duty to meet the shameful attack by taking up arms in accordance with the dictates of the law of civilized nations, thus meeting criminal aggression by a resolute defense of our national rights which are those of mankind.

Accept [etc.]

Robert Lansing