The Brazilian Chargé (Lobo) to the Secretary of State

Excellency: I have been directed by my Government to request an emergency shipment of wheat to relieve a most serious food crisis in Brazil. The situation of wheat stocks has been steadily deteriorating and has now reached a critical point. Wheat imports which were maintained at an average level of 100.000 tons for the first half of 1945 showed a 60% drop in the last quarter of the year. By December only 15.321 tons were imported from Argentina, of which 6.889 tons were received through the port of Rio de Janeiro and 8.432 through Santos. In January 7.854 tons came in through Rio de Janeiro and 15.638 tons through Santos. During February no shipments were received. The imminent crisis was averted in January through the shipment of 16.000 tons of wheat from this country, during December, and shipments of wheat flour during December and January.

The lack of wheat imports during February has precipitated the crisis. A dispatch under date of yesterday informs that all the mills of Brazil are paralyzed, except for the Moinho Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro, which has drastically reduced its output. The last information on total wheat stocks in Brazil as of February 21st, indicated the figure of 51.000 tons, which by now will have been considerably reduced. No flour stocks exist in the interior of any State, although there are small stocks, mostly of American flour, recently received in the southern capitals. The city of São Paulo held, as of yesterday, 120.000 bags and the Federal District 110.000 bags, which will ensure but a few days supply for the two cities, under strict rationing, and cannot be made available for the interior.
A growing social unrest is occurring in the cities, whose population is heavily dependent on bread. The scarcity of bread, which now can be had only three times a week in the capitals, and is practically unavailable in the interior, constitutes one of the major factors in the current wave of labor unrest in Brazil.
It is obvious that this situation is extremely dangerous and that immediate steps should be taken to alleviate the crisis. Since we have been unable to obtain shipments from Argentina, it is requested that advance shipments be made, from the Combined Food Board pool, against the Brazilian allocation, which is now under consideration. It is our understanding that a month’s supply, under the tentative allocation scheme, would amount to 66 to 76.000 tons, and it is requested that such quantity be immediately shipped to Brazil, as corresponding to our February import quota which has not so far been implemented. The question of the total amount to be allocated, is, as we understand it, still open for discussion. The Brazilian requirements have been set at the figure of 600.000 tons for the first six months of the year, or one third above the tentative allocation so far contemplated by the Combined Food Board. It is felt that this reduction of supplies, as compared to the minimum requirements of a basic food item, imposes on Brazil a much larger proportionate sacrifice than that of other countries currently and actively cooperating for the rehabilitation of devastated areas.
Whatever the final agreement may be on the half-year allocation, the immediate problem is to secure emergency shipments, which are now imperative to reopen the mills and afford relief to a most serious situation.
In making this appeal to the United States Government, the Brazilian Government is fully confident that the gravity of the crisis which prompted this emergency request will be fully appreciated.
In view of the urgency of the matter, I would appreciate being informed as soon as possible of any action taken for communication to my Government.

I have the honor to renew to your Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.

Fernando Lobo