Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Acting Chief of the Division of Brazilian Affairs (Braddock)

Mr. Campos4 asked whether, in exchange for 30,000 tires which the United States had agreed to ship to Argentina, we had requested a specific commitment that a certain amount of wheat should be exported from Argentina to Brazil. I replied that no such commitment had been asked for, and reviewed for him our position on this whole question as it had been communicated recently in instructions to the Embassy in Rio. Mr. Campos expressed once again the annoyance that his government felt because the United States had: (1) failed to consult with Brazil concerning this deal, as it should have under the Tri-Partite Agreement;5 (2) interfered with and spoiled Brazil’s separate negotiations with Argentina for a normal supply of wheat. He stated further that the Brazilian Government was not satisfied with the tentative allocation that had been mentioned for Brazil of 460,000 tons of wheat for the first half of 1946, which was understood to be under consideration by the Wheat Committee of the Combined Food Board. He said that Brazil’s normal consumption of wheat is much less per capita than that of the United States, France, and many other countries, and that this consumption simply did not permit of reduction in the same proportion as that which could be borne by countries like the United States which normally consumed a lot of wheat in luxury uses. He said that the Brazilian Government felt that its legitimate requirements had been subordinated by the United States to those of other users.

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I expressed regret again at our failure to consult with Brazil, called attention to the fact that it was largely because of Brazil’s appeal to us for help in getting wheat last December that we had undertaken the tire negotiations with Argentina, stressed the existence of famine conditions in Europe and the sacrifice which the United States was preparing to make in its consumption to help meet the situation, and suggested to Mr. Campos that if Brazil were dissatisfied with any allocation that might be made to it by the Wheat Committee of the Combined Food Board, it should carry its appeal directly to that Committee. Mr. Campos intimated that Brazil was not much in sympathy with the existence or operation of the Combined Food Board in any case, and made it clear that his government was annoyed at not having been offered the opportunity, as one of the large wheat consuming countries of the world, to be represented on the Wheat Committee.

Mr. Campos was not satisfied with my explanations, and it is clear that our tire-wheat deal with Argentina still rankles with the Brazilians. We should, in my judgment, be extremely careful not to fall into the same error again of violating or evading any agreement we have with Brazil.

  1. Roberto Campos, Second Secretary of the Brazilian Embassy.
  2. For bracketed note on this agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ix, p. 707.