832.24/264: Telegram

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

609. For the Under Secretary. Reference my telegram No. 607, November 26, 5 p.m. The following communication was handed the Embassy this afternoon by Dr. Aranha:

“To the Honorable Sumner Welles, Under Secretary of State, Washington.

I thank you for your message because it is one of an understanding and helpful friendship. Please believe that we are all deeply grateful for the solicitude, decision and efficiency with which you, Caffery and General Marshall, faithful to the tradition of the United States, have sought to aid Brazil in this incident.
The British memorandum displays the British authorities’ ignorance of the facts, and reveals an animosity which contrasts not only with the notes delivered to us, but also with the affirmations and explanations made and given to us by the Marquis of Willingdon and by Ambassador Knox.
Brazil has never been more united and determined in respect to the continental policy and its “leader”. I believe I can assure you that the Brazilians are unanimous in this attitude as everything indicates that the descendants of the Germans will follow a conduct similar to that of the last war.
England should beware of German elements following its moves and inspiring many of its decisions. We have indications of this even in the present case. For example, Germany denied permission for the export of the remainder of the anti-aircraft cannon. It declined to accede to our insistence here and in Berlin. At the very hour that the Siqueira Campos entered Gibraltar, the German Ambassador here with an ironic air communicated to me that through an order and special concession by Goering,65 the cannon could be shipped.

A further indication is the statement that we are Germany’s debtors. Nothing could be more absurd, nor more German.

It is true that the steamer which left Genoa carried material in addition to that listed. It was not from Krupp, however. It was machinery purchased in Germany and Switzerland for our factories. We presented excuses and suggested the disembarkation of this material. Our Consul and the others responsible for this precipitate shipment without the necessary permit were punished. If this should have occurred with the Siqueira Campos we insist on the disembarkation of this material. We want only what we consider we have the right to have.
We did not authorize the Counselor of our Embassy to make the declaration referred to and it does not appear in the notes exchanged, our requests for facilities are all within the British regulations and are for material of our ownership paid for prior to November 25, 1939 and complementing material which we have already received.
The statement that we are increasing German exchange availabilities was answered directly to the British Government.
The British Economic Mission was showered with attentions from this Government, the public and the press. I deliberately made in the name of the Government a significant speech which had wide repercussion and was applauded by all Brazil. When France capitulated the British Ambassador expressed to me his fear that Brazilian public opinion would abandon the Allied cause. Weeks later he told me that Brazilian public opinion had shown that it was not pro-Ally on account of France but on account of its sentiments and ideals. He added that England has never before been able to count on so much sympathy in Brazil.
The Krupp contract because of its nature is [apparent omission]. The truth is that it envisages, as you know, our own defense and cooperation for continental defense, we only bought in Germany because it was impossible at that time to buy under better terms anywhere else.
The contract was signed on March 25, 1938 and comprises 1080 cannon of various calibre in addition to vehicles, munitions, accessories, and apparatus for the total price of 8,281,383 pounds which amounts to an average price of 7,667 pounds for each cannon complete with accessories.
Terms of payment are 25 percent in pounds or dollars and the remainder in marks in 25 installments, the first to be paid on March 25, 1939 and the last on October 3, 1944. The delivery of the material is regulated in such a manner that only at the 15th installment, there begins to exist a balance between the material delivered and the installments paid. This is customary in contracts of this nature.
Krupp makes deliveries in Essen to our military commission but the German Government allows only the shipment of cannon in parts. This is to prevent seizure of the complete cannon. Thus the Siqueira Campos carries new material to complement that previously shipped. There is still material authorized by the British Government which failed to come such as the 150 millimeter batteries and the remaining anti-aircraft cannon.
Brazil has received together with vehicles, munitions, accessories, and apparatus twenty-eight anti-aircraft cannon and sixteen 75 m.m. field guns. The Siqueira Campos brings complementary material for these cannon and forty-eight additional field cannon (75’s) and their accessories.
The total amount of cannon received, and to be received by the Siqueira Campos is therefore 92 which at the average price means that the German deliveries amount to less than 750,000 pounds.
Prior to November 1939, i. e., before the declaration of total blockade, Brazil paid five installments amounting to the total of 1,275,000 pounds thus leaving between the amount paid and the deliveries up to that time a balance in favor of Brazil in Germany of more than 500,000 pounds. This is now increased by installments numbers six, seven and eight paid in 1940 amounting to a total of 637,500 pounds. Brazil’s balance today is over 1,000,000 pounds.
It was established by an exchange of notes with the German Government that from now on the payments in marks should be converted into Brazilian currency and deposited in the Bank of Brazil to be used exclusively for the purchase of Brazilian products selected by the Government of Brazil. The products would remain stored in Brazil until the termination of the war, when they would be exported to Germany.
The contract obligates us to continue payment of the installments under penalty of heavy damages. Because of this we decided to ship to Lisbon and store there the material now being delivered to us. As we stated to Lord Halifax Ave merely ask to transport to Brazil the material covered by the amounts paid up to November 1939. This is a right enjoyed even by private interests. However, I tell you personally and confidentially that we do not intend even to attempt to transport this portion of the material pending a real change in the situation.
This is the truth. I give it to you on my honor and you may use it with entire assurance.

Rio de Janeiro, November 26, 1940.”

  1. Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, Chairman of the German War Cabinet.