The Chargé in Brazil ( Burdett ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 6 p.m.]
561. For Ambassador Caffery. Aranha60 sent for me today and requested me to telegraph you the following.
As you are aware, Brazil has received part of the large military equipment order placed with Germany. The Brazilians are now especially anxious to receive an order, filled by Krupp, for sixty-four 75-millimeters Brazilian Army-type field guns and forty-eight 88-millimeters anti-aircraft guns with several thousand rounds of ammunition for each type. About one third of this order is now on board a Brazilian ship at Lisbon and the other two thirds are believed to be en route between Essen and Lisbon.
Aranha says that Brazil has already paid Germany 3,000,000 pounds sterling on this account; that equipment worth about 1,000,000 pounds has been delivered in Brazil.
Aranha states that Knox61 urged his Government to grant permission to ship the equipment from Lisbon, but the Brazilian Ambassador in London yesterday telegraphed Aranha that the British Committee of Economic Blockade has definitely refused the permission.
Knox has seen Aranha and expressed concern and regrets, saying that he had done all he could and felt that it was a mistake not to permit the shipment, but was overruled.
In view of this situation, Aranha, who either really felt or simulated considerable agitation, said that his Government was resolved to attempt the shipment regardless of the British and that President [Page 627] Vargas had concurred in this view. Aranha said the Brazilians would take their chances on the ship or ships transporting this material being held up by the British. If held up, his Government would issue a formal declaration to all the American Republics condemning the British attitude toward Brazil, and the British economic mission would not be received here. Finally, Aranha said that the Army is most insistent and that if Brazil fails to overcome this British objection, he would resign and permit the designation as Minister for Foreign Affairs of a successor who holds views different from his own. He remarked that this material was for the defense of the Natal area, … However, I judge that his concern is due to heavy pressure from the Army.
Aranha said that as you are thoroughly familiar with this subject he felt that you would appreciate its gravity and endeavor to help him.