832.24/258: Telegram

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

599. Reference Department’s telegram 372 of November 2, 5 p.m. Lord Willingdon told me this morning that his Government informed him last night that the Siqueira Campos had been stopped and taken into arrest by the British. He said this was a grave mistake, that he had recommended that the ship be merely stopped and then allowed to proceed on its voyage and that he had sent a personal telegram to Lord Halifax63 urging against detaining the ship. He said that he was told by the Ministry of Blockade which felt that nonseizure of this ship after the Brazilians had decided to disregard the blockade would be a bad precedent and afford grounds for other American Republics on various pretexts to request passage through the blockade.

He said he knew that the American Government did not view favorably the detention of this ship. He will see Aranha this afternoon. Last night Aranha pointedly failed to attend a banquet for Willingdon.

The seizure of this ship may undo any good the Willingdon Mission can accomplish. The Mission was received most favorably here, has had a good press, been extensively entertained, and the visit marked by felicitous speeches. Aranha made an anti-German speech at the Foreign Office banquet to the Willingdon party.

Now Aranha is indignant and worried. He requests me to telegraph the Department the following statement:

“We are informed by the British Government that it has directed the control authorities to detain the military equipment carried in the Siqueira Campos.

The Brazilian Embassy at London states that the British authorities insinuate that they have taken this step in accord with the American [Page 629] Government. I sent a denial of this insinuation. We hope that the decision of the British Government is only a formality. We cannot understand such arbitrary action. If this brutality is carried out, we will be forced into an attitude that may unfortunately perturb the continental policy which with our help has been one of good will toward England. There is present proof of this in the manner in which we are receiving and negotiating with the British Economic Mission.”

I repeated to Aranha the sense of the Department’s telegrams 372, November 2, 5 p.m. and 402, November 18, 7 p.m.

Original correspondence the above to Ambassador Caffery.

  1. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.