832.30/89: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina ( Riddle )

60. Your 75, December 20, 5 p.m.

Please explain to the proper Argentine officials that the Naval Mission was sent to Brazil by virtue of the authority conferred on the President by the Act of Congress of June 5, 1920, entitled “An Act to authorize officers of the naval service to accept offices with compensation and emoluments from Governments of the Republics of South America”, which permits the detail of naval officers to [Page 656] assist any South American Governments which may desire and ask for help in organizing and instructing their navies. The purpose of the Mission is merely to cooperate with the Brazilian Minister of Marine and with the officers of the Brazilian Navy to secure a good organization of the Brazilian Navy ashore and afloat; improving the methods of work and in training and instructing the personnel, and in drawing up and executing plans for the improvement of the Navy. In case of civil war or war between Brazil and any other nation no member of the Mission will, in accordance with the terms of the contract, take part in the operations in any respect whatsoever. Moreover, the terms of the contract itself permit the withdrawal of the Mission should such a step become necessary in the interest of either Government, and in the event that hostilities appear imminent between Brazil and any other country the United States would immediately notify the Brazilian Government of its intention to terminate the contract.

The Mission does not signify in any sense an alliance between the United States and Brazil. Other powers have been in the habit of sending military and naval missions upon request to foreign governments. This Government has been asked in a number of cases to render such assistance but had never been in a position to render effective aid of such a nature until the Act of Congress of June 5, 1920, was enacted. Since then requests in this sense from Peru and Haiti have been complied with.10 There is, therefore, no new departure in policy in sending the Naval Mission to Brazil to which any significance whatsoever can be attached, nor does it signify any change in the desire of the United States Government for Pan American solidarity and closer relations with each and every country of this hemisphere. Form and signature of contract for naval mission merely in accordance with official routine and precedents.

  1. For papers relating to the appointment of a naval mission to Peru, see Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. iii, pp. 367 ff; no record of proposals for a similar mission to Haiti has been found in Department files.