810.24/12–445: Telegram

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

3594. For the President, Secretary Byrnes, and Assistant Secretary Braden. Brazilian minister of Navy84 this morning called for Commodore Dodd85 on following matter:

Representative of British Vickers Armstrong, by name Leveson, with Baering of British Embassy, had just made offer of considerable number of all types of combatant vessels with equipment and presumably instruction and experts at prices described by Brazilian Navy Minister as substantially scrap value. Offer described as very attractive on financial side. Leveson further stated that he wished to leave this offer with Brazilian Navy as he was now leaving for Buenos [Page 649] Aires, Santiago, Chile, and Lima, Peru, in which places he expected to make similar offer. He would then return to Brazil to receive answer.

Navy Minister, by name Admiral Dodsworth, is life-long protagonist of Inter-American and Brazilian–US cooperation and much concerned by this situation. He stated he foresaw beginning of armament race in Americas fostered by European munitions manufacturers with accompanying European control of resultant situation, whereas Brazilian policy was for orderly development of inter-American defense in cooperation with US on planned basis without European interference. He hoped therefore that this message would promptly be conveyed to Embassy and through Embassy to appropriate channels in US. He was particularly concerned lest Leveson be able to effect arrangement in Argentina which would force Brazilian hand.

I hope immediate consideration will be given to this situation which Dept. has foreseen at various times and which now meets us as concrete case.

In this connection I suggest Dept. may wish to consider following:

There is already outstanding draft of Brazil–US naval staff conversations which have not as yet been acted on or implemented. Minister specifically inquired as to present status of these documents.
Consideration might be given to immediate representations in London requesting that traffic in arms be not undertaken in Americas without prior consultation with US.86
Under Resolutions IV and V of Mexico City Conference,87 Americans agreed to concert on measures for hemispheric defense and form organization for that purpose and reserve control of armaments to their Govts. Consideration might be given to prompt formation of new organization.

Dept. undoubtedly will recognize that this situation is forerunner of others to come since major European article available for export is second-hand armament.

Repeated to Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Lima.

  1. Adm. Jorge Dodsworth Martins.
  2. Commodore Harold Dodd of the United States Naval Mission to Brazil.
  3. See telegram 10694, December 10, 8 p.m., to London, p. 260.
  4. For texts of these Resolutions, see Pan American Union, Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, Mexico City, February–March, 1945 (Washington, 1945), pp. 36–37.