811.24532/9–1045: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Brazil (Berle)

2295. State, War and Navy are agreed that early activation of Strategic Base Agreement with Brazil is desirable. You are authorized to commence conversations with Braz authorities at earliest practicable date with view to formation of Technical Commission provided in Article 4 to assume responsibility for maintenance and control of these airports on withdrawal of ATC48 and other Army forces.

Army and Navy are designating General Wooten and Captain Lanigan respectively to furnish such technical assistance as you may require in connection with discussions. Following instructions are given for your general guidance, but you may feel free to make recommendations on these or other points as conversations develop.

US is prepared to continue maintenance and operation of bases enumerated in Agreement until termination of ATC operations, but believes understanding should be reached promptly for transition to arrangements contemplated by agreement.
Every attempt will be made to comply with Braz request that terms of Agreement remain secret until Brazil agrees otherwise. [Page 634] However, because of Congressional jurisdiction over appropriation of funds, et cetera, you should point out that satisfactory implementation presents practical difficulties until secrecy restrictions are removed.
US expenditures should be kept to minimum consistent with proper protection of our interests and this should be borne in mind in discussions concerning division of maintenance and operating costs. Landing or facilities fees, if any, should be applied toward these costs. Facilities and equipment pertaining to maintenance and operation will be left at bases under control of Technical Commission, but you should endeavor to negotiate arrangement whereby US will receive credit against all or part of its share of these costs for reasonable period of time through making available certain supplies now in Brazil. Perhaps satisfactory arrangements can be made for Brazil to assume all labor costs for maintenance and operation.
US personnel remaining on bases after withdrawal of ATC will be kept to absolute minimum necessary for training Brazilians and protection of US interests under Agreement. Your recommendations and those of your military advisers in this regard should be submitted as soon as more definite information is available concerning (a) progress made by ATC in training Brazilians; (b) probable date for complete withdrawal of ATC; and (c) desires of Braz Air Ministry. Permanent base personnel requirements would be determined later by Technical Commission.
You should endeavor to secure Braz concurrence to eliminating Aratu Seaplane Base, Bahia, from terms of Agreement, since cost of maintenance out of proportion to prospective strategic or use value (see Chalmers’ personal letter to you, Aug 23, with attached memoranda49). Army and Navy concur.
Embtel 2830 Sept 10. You may suggest to Braz authorities possibility of adding to Technical Commission representative of DAC50 and US Civil Air Attaché, or other qualified persons, to act in interests of civil aviation. Article 4 provides commission composed only of representatives of Braz Air Force and US Armed Forces, but Dept sees no reason why Armed Forces cannot designate civil representatives as well. Name of proposed US civil representative should be submitted to Dept for approval.
With reference to third paragraph Embtel 2685, Aug 27, Dept forwarding by airmail excerpt from War Dept letter containing pertinent provision of amended ADP contract (Dept’s instruction 7517 Sept 1951). Complications in Panam picture arise from ambiguities [Page 635] in Decree-Law 3462. It is understood that Panam contends that leaseback provisions of Decree-Law apply to all facilities constructed at airports either with their own or with US funds, whereas various Braz authorities are reported to have contended that lease-back provisions applied only to Panam’s own facilities.
In this connection, it would be interesting to learn Braz reaction to proposals outlined in paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 of aide-mémoire accompanying Dept’s instruction 5226, Oct 30, 1943,52 to which would now be added provision based on Strategic Base Agreement that any operations of the strategic airports by Panair would necessarily be subject to supervision and regulations of the two Govts through Technical Commission. In such case, cost of operating facilities would be covered by fees charged users subject to approval of Commission. Cost of airport maintenance would be covered by funds supplied Commission by both Govts. Perhaps Brazil would have no objection to accepting conditions outlined in aforementioned 1943 aide-mémoire provided Technical Commission would have overriding authority.
It is desirable to know Braz interpretation of whatever obligations it has toward Panair under Decree-Law 3462 before considering other alternatives; such as permitting Technical Commission itself to operate facilities. (In latter event, we should insist that Panam be fully protected in its rights to all facilities installed with own funds.)
You are requested to explore this question and advise Dept of Braz attitude and course you recommend. Result is desired which will best preserve American military and civil rights in strategic airports and other airports in Brazil improved with US funds. Importance to this Govt of obtaining satisfactory rights for our military and for all our properly certificated civilian airlines transcends Panam’s claims, if such claims are contrary to Braz interpretations of Decree-Law and to military and civilian air interests of this Govt.
You should be guided by policy laid down in Dept’s telegram 4054, Oct 30, 1943,53 initialed by President Roosevelt, and in second paragraph of Dept’s instruction 5226, Oct. 30, 1943. Accordingly, Dept approves first two sentences, fourth paragraph, of Embtel 2685, Aug 27.
Dept considers it desirable that discussions of US civil air rights in Brazil be conducted simultaneously. You are requested to proceed accordingly, objective being, of course, to conclude bilateral agreement covering mutually satisfactory routes and full Fifth Freedom privileges. Methods of injecting this issue and of conducting conversations are left to your discretion.
Since full clearances have not yet been received in Washington (specifically Joint Chiefs of Staff), foregoing should be considered solely as authority for commencement of conversations to determine possibility of reaching satisfactory agreement on various points raised. Before making firm commitments, however, you are requested to refer matters back to Dept for final approval with appropriate comment and recommendations.
  1. Air Transport Command.
  2. None printed.
  3. Direetoria de Aeronáutica Civil.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed; the instruction emphasized the policy of equal treatment for all United States airlines (832.7962/94).
  6. Not printed; this reiterated the policy of equal treatment for all United States airlines (832.7962/94).