832.34/182: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Brazil ( Crosby )


18. Reference your telegram no. 24, June 6, 3 p.m. The proposed naval building plan submitted by Rear Admiral Vogelgesang is most disturbing to the Department. While from a purely naval technical point of view this program may be justifiable, the outlay appears to be exorbitant and out of all proportion to the necessities of a country like Brazil that is menaced from no quarter. This Government’s cardinal policy in Latin America is peace and the promotion among the Latin American countries of the most friendly relations. Severe criticism has been directed against this Government’s Naval Mission to Brazil. The motive of the Mission was friendship to Brazil, for if an American mission had not been sent a similar mission from some European country would have been contracted for instead and this Government would in consequence [Page 324] have lost the opportunity to exert its influence for moderation in naval armaments. To carry out a program on the scale proposed would afford ample justification for the criticism which has already been directed against the Mission. Please explain the views of the Secretary of State under these premises to Rear Admiral Vogelgesang and express to him the grave concern with which the Department has received this information; request him to give you a full explanation regarding the matter for transmission to the Department by cable. If possible you will also request him to stop any further steps from being taken in this matter while it is under the Department’s consideration.