832.24/356: Telegram

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

374. General Miller85 writes me confidentially as follows:

“1. It is probable that within a few days the agreement will be signed between the authorized representatives of Brazil and the United States providing for the initial credit of $12,000,000 for the procurement of munitions by the Brazilian Army. Half of this sum is intended for automotive and mechanized equipment.

2. It seems urgent that our Government take the necessary steps to insure that some deliveries of equipment be made to the Brazilian Army with the least practicable delay. For nearly 2 years Brazilian Army authorities have been endeavoring to procure equipment in the United States ‘under as favorable terms as those given by [the Germans].’ To date no modern military equipment has been obtained from us except some searchlights purchased for cash from the Sperry Company.

The arrival in Brazil of modern equipment from the United States (such as tanks and armored cars) even if only in small quantities would produce a tremendous moral effect. In spite of my efforts to explain matters, there exists in the minds of many Brazilian Army officers a doubt as to the effectiveness of our assistance. The situation would become worse if a German ship should suddenly reach Brazil with a cargo of Krupp armament—an event which seems to be possible if not probable.

3. It is recommended that our Government make immediate delivery to the Brazilian Purchasing Mission in the United States of approximately [Page 532] the following quantities of mechanized equipment: 25 tanks, light; 10 tanks, medium; 25 scout cars.

These quantities were reported to the Brazilian Army as immediately procurable in February 1941. They are one-third of the total quantities of mechanized equipment desired by the Brazilian Army under the 6,000,000 dollars earmarked for that purpose.

4. The action recommended in the preceding paragraph would demonstrate our good intentions and would silence the pro-German propaganda to the effect that the United States will sell to Brazil only obsolete equipment. Furthermore, it would create a willingness to wait a reasonable time for additional deliveries.

5. Although the great majority of the Brazilian Army is decidedly pro-American probable additional victories of the German Army this year will strengthen professional admiration of that military machine, warranting energetic action on our part. [”]

I approve this.

  1. Gen. Lehman W. Miller, Chief of the United States Military Mission to Brazil.