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

No. 16586

Sir: I have the honor to report that in my telegram No. 2132 of June 12, 3 PM, 194426 I remarked: “I have not in the past transmitted to the Department reports in connection with various minor difficulties encountered by our military and naval authorities in Brazil, all of which we have been able to settle locally.”

Recent correspondence has had to do with an incident at Belem regarding jurisdiction over American soldiers charged with offenses by the local authorities. In the past cases, even those involving shooting, with fatal results, by an American soldier, have been settled to the satisfaction of ourselves as well as the Brazilian authorities.

However, a case has arisen at Natal—the McBratnie case—which will be described in a separate despatch27 involving a charge against an American naval officer in connection with the killing of a Brazilian minor by a jeep he was driving. Vice Consul Sims28 is still working on that case.

It is neither my intention nor desire to turn over members of our armed forces to the Brazilian authorities to try. However, it is not always easy to handle some of the cases which arise. In this connection, Brigadier General Ralph H. Wooten, Commanding General of the United States Army Forces South Atlantic, in agreement with me, has emphasized to his commanders the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the local authorities.

In this connection, the only pertinent Article in the Political Military Agreement between Brazil and the United States is Article No. 12.29

I should appreciate an expression of the Department’s opinion on the principles involved.

Respectfully yours,

Jefferson Caffery
  1. Not printed.
  2. Despatch 16621, June 27, 1944, not printed.
  3. William Harold Sims, Vice Consul at Natal.
  4. For information on this agreement, see bracketed note, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. v, p. 662.