832.00/1089a: Telegram

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

74. Personal for the Ambassador from the Under Secretary. The press in this country, as was to be anticipated, has reacted immediately to recent events in Brazil by emphasizing the Fascist nature of the new setup and by intimating that the change in government must have some connection with the Rome-Berlin Axis.

In order to attempt to prevent unduly exaggerated stories of this character which might in the long run have a definitely prejudicial effect upon our relations with Brazil, I had an entirely off the record and personal conversation with some of the American correspondents and editorial writers yesterday in which I indicated my purely personal belief, from the information which I had received, that the change which has taken place in Brazil was not inspired by the European dictatorships and corresponded to a tendency which has frequently been manifested in Latin American republics in past years. I made no effort to under estimate the Fascist and Nazi propaganda in Brazil and I likewise added that it would be premature to form any final conclusions, but that for the moment, at least, I had no great anxiety with regard to the implications.

I wish at as early a moment as you deem appropriate you would endeavor to have a private conversation with President Vargas which will not be known to the public and ascertain from him what his reactions may be to the claims publicly made in Rome and in Berlin [Page 314] that the recent change in the Brazilian Government is one which is sympathetic to the regime in Germany and in Italy.

I understand from your recent telegrams that the Integralista party has no part in the present setup but that, at least until very recently, it appeared to support President Vargas and to have his tacit approval. I should appreciate such further light as you may throw on this subject.

Under present conditions I feel that we should have the fullest information possible with regard to all developments in Brazil and specifically with regard to any possible increased influence with the Government of the German and Italian Governments. In this connection I suggest for your consideration that you instruct the principal consular officers under your jurisdiction to have a conference with you in Rio and that you advise them very confidentially of your need to have the fullest information which they may obtain for you with regard to the activities of the German and Italian colonies within their respective jurisdictions, and likewise all information possible concerning increased propaganda from German and Italian sources.

Our relations with President Vargas and with his associates have been so particularly close and friendly during these recent years that I, of course, cannot assume that those relations will be in any way affected by the recent change in government. I should like, of course, to have reassurances on this point.