811.24532/2–446: Telegram

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

secret

245. In taking advantage of call on Brazilian Under Secretary13 I raised two problems today which have previously been subject of negotiation with Foreign Office.

First was question of air base maintenance agreement. I said that we were now down to low strength and could not reduce much lower without impairing services of the bases. ATC remained there at request of Brazilian Govt so that the bases could be maintained until Brazilian forces were ready to take over. It seemed to me that first step to take now was to constitute the mixed Brazilian-American air base maintenance commission, and set them to drawing detailed plans and schedules.

I added that the military men in discussing it had raised question of “command”, which seemed to me apart from the real spirit of the agreement. Obviously command, except in time of emergency, would have to rest with the competent Brazilian authorities; the problem was the technical and strategic use of these bases which the command would presumably follow out. In any event that question was one which could be worked out through air base maintenance commission.

I added that the agreement was nominally secret, though by now pretty much everyone knew about it; we saw no reason for not publishing it and hoped they did not.

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I rather expect we will get a prompt answer on this.

I likewise said that, though it is not involved in the air base agreement as such, collaterally we ought to work out the civil aviation agreements for use of these fields. They were the principal highway between Brazil and US and, indeed, between Rio and Europe from Natal southward.

Berle
  1. Samuel de Souza-Leão Gracie.