File No. 832.85/11

The Ambassador in Brazil ( Morgan ) to the Secretary of State


After Belgian and Italian Ministers had failed to do so, British and French Ministers are attempting to secure some of the German interned vessels now units of the Lloyd Brazilian mercantile fleet, property of the Brazilian Government. The Government is not prepared to part with any of these units, irrespective of whether or not they were formerly German. Ten of them will soon be ready for employment on Brazilian lines along American coast only, between [Page 316] New York and Valparaiso. Until the Brazilian Government has found by experience that it can not repair and use all the units, as it ultimately must do, there is little prospect of our obtaining any of them, either by purchase or charter.

Administration leader stated Saturday in Chamber of Deputies that the Brazilian Navy will only maintain a defensive coast patrol, which is equivalent to a patrol against submarine bases and communication between raiders and the shore. The Navy has no intention of patrolling the high seas, which it is expected will be done by the Allies. Brazil, not being a belligerent, has no right of visit and search outside territorial waters and therefore can take no action against raiders on the high seas. Should Admiral Caperton’s squadron now be withdrawn, Brazilian coast patrol would become useless and might even be discontinued. The Brazilian Government would become discouraged and Germany’s friends would represent, in the three countries where the Admiral had been, that his visits were intended to compel adhesion to United States plan rather than to express appreciation of cooperation in the present or the future.