The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of War ( Patterson )


My Dear Mr. Secretary: In your letter of April 23, 194652 you request an indication from this Department as to the disposition that should be made of the following installations in Brazil:

  • Camocim Seaplane Base, Camocim, Brazil
  • Igarape Assu, Belém, Brazil
  • Picci Field, Fortaleza, Brazil
  • Clevelandia, Brazil

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Three of these installations, the Camocim Seaplane Base, Picci Field and the weather station at Clevelandia, were constructed, it appears, under the Airport Development Program and hence come under the provisions of Brazilian Decree-Law No. 3462. The well-established understanding between Brazil and the United States with regard to such installations was that Brazil would furnish the land needed and permit construction of installations that had received its prior approval, that during the war these facilities would be used and operated by the United States armed forces, and that after the war they would be turned over to the Brazilian Government. Brazilian title to and sovereignty over installations constructed by virtue of this understanding was never questioned by either party to the understanding.

The lighter-than-air station at Igarape Assu, Belém, Brazil, was built pursuant to authority granted by the Commander of the First Brazilian Air zone in a letter dated February 7, 1943 to the United States Commander of the Naval Air Facility at Belém, a record of which is on file in the War Department. No mention is made in this letter of the ultimate disposition to be made of the installations to be constructed by the United States Navy. Yet in view of the over-all understanding between the United States and Brazil regarding the air base installations in general, it can hardly be questioned that it was the understanding on both sides that the fixed constructions at Igarape Assu would revert as usual to the Brazilian Government after the war.

It is the view of this Department, therefore, that the disposition of all of the above-mentioned installations should properly come within the Procedure to Govern Disposal of Military Facilities which are Subject to Prior Agreements with other American Republics proposed in my letter to you of March 8, 1946 and concurred in by your reply of March 20.53

The War Department is accordingly requested to turn over the installations under reference to the Brazilian Government in accordance with arrangements that will be made by the American Embassy in Rio de Janeiro under the terms of the aforementioned disposal procedure.

Sincerely yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Spruille Braden
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