800.8830 Brazil/223: Telegram

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

2769. For Duggan56 and Walmsley. Brazilian coastwise ships are unable to handle cargo of United States Government agencies from Rio de Janeiro and Santos to Bahia, Recife, Natal, Fortaleza and Belém and also transport essential supplies for Brazilian official and civilian use in northern ports. For example according to Brazilian Maritime Commission, Rubber Development Corporation shipments to Belém require about 65% of available space for that port, leaving but limited space for cargo of other United States Government agencies and for Brazilian official and civilian use. Large backlog of latter has accumulated for northern ports, including food. Serious food shortages are reported at Bahia and in northern areas that normally are dependent upon southern Brazil for certain essentials and even more so now because of increased floating population and other factors growing out of operations connected with war effort in the north.

During next 6 months U. S. Government official coastwise cargo to be moved from Rio to northern ports mentioned above will average 9,000 to 11,000 tons monthly. Included in these estimates is large quantity of cement for Fortaleza airport and military highway projects. In addition shipments from Santos, chiefly to Belém, will average at least 2500 tons monthly.

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We can neither afford to incur responsibility and blame for civilian food shortages nor can we delay shipment essential materials for our establishments in northern Brazil. In view of this and the circumstances set forth above all U.S. Government agencies here represented hope that one ship on South Africa to Brazil route may be diverted to Rio each month to carry our cargo to northern Brazilian ports and continue thence in ballast to bauxite port; and that a second ship with about 500 ton refrigerator capacity be placed for last 6 months of this year in coastwise Brazilian trade to carry our cargo (including frozen meats for Bahia and Recife) from Santos to northern ports under supervision War Shipping Administration. Sugar and salt will be available to latter vessel for return cargo for southern Brazil. Any of our cargo not handled by such ships can continue to be handled by Brazilian vessels. It is to be understood that Brazilian Maritime Commission will not divert to other service vessels now in coastwise trade.

Foregoing request supersedes telegram of May 27 to WSA Washington from its director here transmitting request of Brazilian Maritime Commission that two vessels arriving from Africa in ballast for bauxite port be diverted to load two cargos at Santos and Rio for Bahia and Recife.

Consideration of measures to alleviate situation described above has been undertaken at my request and I urgently recommend immediate action to carry out foregoing suggestion.

  1. Laurence Duggan, Adviser on Political Relations.