The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Brazil
A–454. There are now in the possession of the Brazilian government a number of US naval vessels leased to Brazil during the war under a charter party agreement between the two governments. By the terms of this agreement, the US retains title to the vessels and Brazil is required to return each vessel, unless lost, to this Government at a place and time to be specified by the US. This procedure was used because [Page 410] under the Lend Lease Act48 it was not permitted to transfer title to these vessels.
As the Navy Department now considers the ships leased to Brazil to be surplus to its needs, it is planned to offer all of them, with the exception of 8 destroyer escorts, for sale to Brazil as surplus property at a low price. There is no legislative authority whereby destroyer escorts may be sold to foreign governments. If Brazil should agree to purchase, it is planned not to require Brazil to return the ships to a US port for actual repossession by the US, but to ask that they be returned to an appropriate US official in Brazil until a contract of sale is finalized. Failure to purchase the ships will necessitate that they be returned by Brazil to a US port for actual repossession by the US and subsequent disposal. Although the agreement states that “hire” (charge for use) of the vessels during the war shall be determined by subsequent agreement between the two governments, it is not planned to charge for use of the ships, since they were employed in the common defense effort.
Without approaching Brazilians, please report your comments regarding plan by cable and any objections you may perceive. US ships covered by agreement with Brazil are: 8 subchasers (PC); 8 subchasers (SC); 1 transport (AP); 1 repair barge (YR); 5 launches (ML); 1 gate vessel (YNg); 1 barge (YS); 1 floating drydock (YFD); 11 plane personnel craft; 19 plane rearming craft; 1 landing boat. In addition, Brazil has 8 destroyer escorts (DE) covered by the agreement, but, as indicated above, there is no legislative authority whereby these may be sold to Brazil.
- Act of March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31.↩