711.32/12–2845: Telegram

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

3792. This morning Col. Bina Machado called at my office and after expressing the hope that I would not object to his speaking frankly made several observations on Brazilian-American cooperation, particularly military cooperation. Col. Bina said that the views he was expressing were not only his own but likewise reflected those of [Page 621] General Dutra,14 General Goes Monteiro15 and General Canrobert. In view of Col. Bina’s continuing influential position in War Dept. and close relations with those three officers, this statement seems credible.

Col. Bina said that as a true friend of the US he viewed with the utmost alarm the recent growth of anti-American sentiment in high Brazilian Army circles, gravely threatening the future of Brazilian-American military cooperation. He said that the feeling was growing that the US was inclined to treat Brazil as a small brother rather than an important nation pledged to full military cooperation. He said doubts existed that the US even was sincerely desirous of following a wholehearted policy of cooperation with Brazil.

I expressed regret to Col. Bina that such sentiments existed and said I felt I could assure him without reservation that the US was indeed sincerely desirous of cooperating fully with Brazil in military and all other matters. I inquired what causes might exist for the lack of confidence to which he referred. In reply he referred to the staff conversations of last spring stating that the Brazilian Govt. which had taken them seriously and approved them at the highest level, had not yet been informed officially of the position of the US Govt in regard thereto or even of the receipt of the papers. He felt that this apparent neglect on the part of the US Govt in a matter of paramount importance to the two countries was becoming increasingly difficult to understand. I inquired through what channel he felt a statement from the Govt in regard to the conversations should be transmitted and he replied that this should be through the joint Brazil–US Military Commission.

Col. Bina then referred to the unusual procedure followed in regard to the designation of General Shugg16 and General Gates17 to serve as CS [US] members on the Mixed Commission. Notwithstanding the agreement earlier reached that appointments of these important posts were to be the subject of prior clearance with the Brazilian Govt, the War Dept. appeared to have sent them here to assume their respective commands without waiting for their clearances. He stated there existed resentment in Brazilian Army circles because of [Page 622] the procedure followed, that the matter had been discussed vigorously and bitterly during a 3-hour meeting not long ago of Brazilian officers, and that the War Ministry’s resentment had been communicated to the Itamaraty.18 He added that the US Govt, had apparently paid no attention to a request he said was transmitted through Ambassador Martins in Washington that no change be made in the military mission pending assumption of new Govt.

I assured Col. Bina of my desire to do everything possible to straighten out any misunderstandings which may have arisen and expressed appreciation for his frankness. I said I would telegraph Washington in the hope that speedy action could be taken to improve the situation and restore a basis of confidence.

From the foregoing it is obvious that immediate action must be taken by the interested agencies, including State, War, and Navy to produce concrete results pursuant to the staff conversations early this year. Failure to take immediate action will aggravate the unfortunate situation described above, prejudice the standing of our military personnel in Brazil, and gravely threaten the whole future of American-Brazilian military cooperation. It is believed the State Dept. has a vital interest in this matter as well as the other agencies involved and should lend its full cooperation in cutting across any obstacles which may have hitherto prevented the shipment of certain urgently needed military equipment required for training and other purposes by the Brazilian Army. Thus if the whole prospective program cannot be elaborated and implemented immediately no reason exists for not showing immediate action and interest through the sole channel provided for that purpose, namely the joint Brazil–U.S. Military Commission and it would be helpful to the Embassy to be informed promptly of action taken in this regard, in view of the fact that the failure to act will have effects far transcending the immediate military necessity.

  1. President-elect Gen. Enrico Gaspar Dutra.
  2. Brazilian Minister of War.
  3. Brig. Generals Roland P. Shugg and Byron E. Gates, United States Senior Ground Member and Army Air Member, respectively, of the Joint Brazil-United States Military Commission at Rio de Janeiro.
  4. On November 14 and 16 the Department of State had initiated through the Brazilian Ambassador in Washington requests for clearance by the Brazilian Government of Generals Shugg and Gates, respectively, for the appointments to the Joint Commission. When General Shugg arrived in Rio de Janeiro in the second week of December, his formal approval had not yet been received, but the records indicate that it was promised by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Generals Shugg and Gates were formally approved by notes of December 26 and January 2, respectively, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but General Shugg was soon reassigned. (832.20 Missions/10–3045–1/1746)
  5. Itamaraty Palace, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.