The Department of State to the Brazilian Embassy


The Government of the United States is deeply gratified to note the expressions of friendship and good-will which are contained in the Memorandum on the subject of the commercial relations between Brazil and the United States which was handed to the Secretary of State by the Brazilian Ambassador on May 23, 1923. In particular the Government of the United States is gratified to note the statement that Brazil is ready to accept in its commercial relations with the United States the policy proposed by the United States.

It is noted further that, as a method of adopting this policy, the Brazilian Government contemplates the issuance of a decree for the twelve months of its fiscal year, to be renewed annually so long as this policy is maintained, granting to the United States for that period all the customs favors which are granted to the products imported by Brazil from other countries.

The Brazilian Ambassador states that the Government of the United States will of course inform the Brazilian Government as to the manner of the adoption of the policy in question by the United States in regard to Brazil, and observes that the Brazilian Government desires to know the opinion of the American Government as to the best way of bringing about an understanding between the two countries in this matter.

It is the view of the Government of the United States that the most acceptable procedure for making clear the purpose of the two Governments [Page 460] would be an exchange of notes by the terms of which they would declare that they will accord to each other unconditional most-favored-nation treatment in customs matters. In order to facilitate consideration of this question, and with the hope that the course suggested may prove acceptable to the Brazilian Government, drafts of notes which might be exchanged are attached hereto.4

The Government of the United States has carefully noted the two declarations made by the Brazilian Government in the Memorandum of the Ambassador. It notes with gratification the declaration that the Government of Brazil accepts the customs policy of unconditional most-favored-nation treatment for the purpose of demonstrating its good-will toward the United States and with a view to affirming in a practical way the disposition of the Brazilian Government to bring about more intimate commercial bonds, in mutual accord. The second declaration of the Brazilian Government relates to the subject of the preferences which prior to the present year have been accorded to American commerce. The Government of the United States, in refraining from requesting the renewal of the preference in question for the present year, has not been indifferent to the fact that changes of this character may possibly in some measure interfere with commercial intercourse as conducted on the previously existing basis. However, as stated in the Memorandum recently presented to the Brazilian Government by the American Ambassador at Rio de Janeiro, it is the policy of the United States to offer to all countries and to seek from them unconditional most-favored-nation treatment, making exception only in the case of Cuba, the dependencies of the United States, and the Panama Canal Zone. This policy is expressed by specific provisions in recent tariff legislation of the Congress of the United States, and, in the judgment of the United States, it is the policy best calculated to be of the maximum of advantage in furthering relations of amity and commerce.

The Brazilian Government will readily perceive how inconsistent it would be for the Government of the United States to enter into any arrangement involving a request on its part for special customs treatment or which offered special concessions on the part of the United States, whether in connection with the customs tariff or otherwise, in consideration of the granting to the United States of special customs treatment. It is the opinion of the Government of the United States that the stabilization of commercial relations between Brazil and the United States on the basis proposed could not but [Page 461] promote in the long run the strengthening of the bonds of friendship and commerce which now happily exist between them.

  1. Drafts not printed; they are identical with the signed texts printed infra.