File No. 763.72119/2042

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


Following is a translation of Brazil’s reply to Austro-Hungarian note. Desire that this may be given to Committee on Public Information for publication in Tuesday’s papers.

The President of the Republic has given due consideration to the proposal which he has just received from the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary “that all of the belligerents should send delegates to a neutral country empowered to begin confidential conversations of a nonobligatory nature regarding the basis of possible peace negotiations. It would be the duty of these delegates to express the opinions of their respective Governments on this subject and to mutually inform themselves with entire liberty and frankness regarding the questions whose consideration is essential to the conclusion of negotiations for the establishment of peace.”

The Imperial and Royal Government in submitting this proposal emphasizes the statement that “without denying the great diversity of opinions which exist between the two belligerent groups, it may be pointed out that if it were possible to dispose of certain radical demands of the belligerents a certain agreement would exist as to the fundamental basis of universal peace”; and it adds that “it is the sacred and humane duty of all of the nations involved to endeavor to end this terrible war which after so many years of struggle and after such great sacrifices continues indecisively.”

The President of the Republic is not in a position to consider this proposal except in conjunction with the nations to which Brazil has definitively allied herself; his attitude at a common conference would be influenced by the opinion of certain of the belligerent powers and especially of those which are taking the most active part in the war.

It is not possible however that Governments which are dependent upon public opinion shall hide their policy and we believe that the war can only terminate by the complete surrender of the militarism which caused it and which has been the ruin of Europe.

We do not believe that an agreement on this subject would result in the peace of the world or would reestablish confidence in treaties and international agreements while this spirit of conquest, of absorption [Page 734] and of force prevails, which Germany has sowed everywhere and which threatens the civil and political liberty of all nations.

Placing the question on a more elevated plane than that of mere desire for territories and markets, the fortune of war will determine whether after sacrifices of blood such as man has never before made in defence of his rights the powers shall continue to subordinate everything to the increase of their armies and navies, in justification of the doctrine which Bismarck taught half a century ago in Parliament in 1863—that might is the basis of treaties which are only rendered valid by a majority of bayonets,—or whether a new international jurisdiction shall be established based on justice and equality of sovereignty, on the freedom of oppressed nationalities, which will permit the powers which are accustomed to settle their controversies through the medium of courts and arbitration to live tranquilly within their own frontiers and to offer inducements to foreigners to share with them both property and wellbeing as a reward for their labor, granting them the same rights as those enjoyed by their own people; the discipline of social forces being stimulated by the desire for order—the only preoccupation of the people being the wish for peace.

To Brazil, therefore, it would seem that peace at the present moment is both illusive and precarious, especially under an agreement maintained and tolerated by the military spirit which brought the whole world into war which would have ended in slavery had this militarism been victorious.