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

No. 3916

Sir: I have the honor to report that Colonel Thomas D. Ferguson, Air Corps, now in command of Air Transport Command activities in Brazil and the liquidation of surplus property left over from the operations of the United States Armed Forces South Atlantic, has been instructed by the War Department to turn over to the Foreign Liquidation Commission2 at Rio de Janeiro the installations listed below:

Installation Location
(Station No. USAFSA–15–Piedade Area)
200th Station Hospital Recife, Brazil
USAFSA Headquarters Building Recife, Brazil
Condor Warehouse Recife, Brazil (in city)
Engineer Area Recife, Brazil
Tent City Area Recife, Brazil
(Station No. USAFSA–10)
Mucuripe Housing Area Fortaleza, Ceará

The general question of disposal of surplus Army property in northern Brazil was the subject of discussion at a meeting held in the Embassy on January 3, 1946, attended by the following:

  • Mr. Paul C. Daniels, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim
  • Colonel Thomas D. Ferguson
  • Mr. Philip C. Kidd, Field Commissioner for Latin America
  • General Byron E. Gates, U.S. member (Air), Joint Brazil-US Military Commission
  • Other officers attached to the Foreign Liquidation Commission and the Joint Brazil-US Military Commission.

[Page 427]

It was brought out that the installations in question could not be considered as falling within the scope of the Air Base Agreement of 1944,3 but rather were facilities which the War Department had declared excess to its needs and therefore available for immediate disposal without reference to that Agreement. This being the case, they are being turned over to the Foreign Liquidation Commission for disposal. Mr. Kidd pointed out that the existing procedure for disposing of these installations seemed to require him to offer them for sale with a view to getting a fair price for them, unless there were some agreement between the Governments of Brazil and the United States providing for some other procedure.

General Gates and Colonel Ferguson pointed out that these buildings were erected on Brazilian soil and that in some cases they were already being used by Brazilian official agencies; that the Brazilians might claim that as a matter of law the buildings went with the land and that the Brazilian Government probably did not expect to pay for them after their evacuation by U.S. Armed Forces; that many buildings had been erected in Brazil after the enactment of a Brazilian law providing that such buildings would remain the property of the Brazilian Government; and that in general any attempt to offer them for sale now might be poorly received by the Brazilians.

Mr. Kidd asked if there were any agreement between the two Governments which would provide for turning over these buildings to the Brazilian Government without offering them for sale. None present knew of any written agreement covering this point specifically, but the view was expressed that perhaps there were oral understandings at the time of construction of these facilities which might be considered an agreement, whether or not reduced to terms of writing and formalized.

It is the Embassy’s opinion that, all things considered, it would be more in the national interest to turn over these installations to the Government of Brazil as a gracious gesture following the withdrawal of our troops, rather than attempt to sell them for as much money as we can get. Any small proceeds which might be realized from their sale would probably be more than offset by the resulting ill-will engendered, plus the danger of complicating still further the pending arrangements for handling the far greater number of installations covered by the Air Base Agreement.

In view of the foregoing considerations, I have requested Mr. Kidd to refrain from offering these installations for sale pending clarification of this point, notwithstanding the admitted urgency of proceeding [Page 428] with the disposal rapidly. A copy of my memorandum to Mr. Kidd of today’s date is enclosed.4

It is recommended that the Department consult with the War and Navy Departments in regard to the question of selling or turning over fixed installations of this character no longer needed by our Armed Forces, and inform the Embassy as to whether there exists an agreement with Brazil providing for the turnover of these installations.

The foregoing relates only to buildings and fixed installations. It is understood that supplies and movable property will be offered for sale in the manner prescribed by existing legislation and the regulations of the Foreign Liquidation Commission.

It should be added that Mr. Kidd told me that he opposed my sending this despatch on the grounds that it was (a) premature and (b) out of channels.

Respectfully yours,

Paul C. Daniels
  1. An office transferred to the Department of State under Executive Order 9630, of September 27, 1945.
  2. Signed June 14, 1944; far documentation regarding the Agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vii, pp. 543 ff.
  3. Not printed.