711.329/8–948: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Brazil

top secret

593. In view Brazilian ForMin statement reported Embtel 790 July 161 that until new agreement concluded old one remains in force, Dept and AEC agree there is no need to urge negotiations at early date. Status quo entirely satisfactory here.

Presume Brazilians still intend submitting new draft as reported Embtel 786, July 15.2 Whether this imminent or not Emb should inform Brazilians along following line.

Dept understands that proposals of FonOff for modification of agreement July 16, 1945 do not imply any Question by the FonOff as to the binding character of the provisions in the agreement as negotiated by the two Govts or any question as to modifications of the agreement before negotiation between, and concurrence by, the two Govts.
That the Govt of Brazil accepts the faithful observance of agreements as a fundamental duty of states is evidenced by its support of such principles in international agreements.
Dept understands it to be traditional policy of the Govt of Brazil to continue to respect its international undertakings in spite of any changes in its domestic situation. This policy is of long standing. For example, when the monarchy of Brazil was overthrown, the Govt of the Republic which succeeded it announced that it would “respect strictly all engagements and contracts entered upon by the state”. (Tel of Mr. Barbosa to Mr. Blaine Nov. 23, 1889.3)
The assertion that a change in the social order of a contracting party confers upon it the right to free itself from the contractual obligations which it accepted through the agency of a previous governmental regime is considered to be not only heedless of the significance of the elements entering into the thought of the contracting [Page 734] parties when they undertook to contract but also to ignore the full measure of the capacity of the parties at that time to make enduring commitments.

If reaction to foregoing appears to make it Appropriate, Emb may indicate that Dept nevertheless would appreciate views Brazilian Govt may have on constitutional and legal questions involved from their point of view.

Dept does not see how it can agree to make public the old agreement or any modification thereof. Moreover, a new agreement entered into at this time would raise the serious question of registration with the UN under Article 102 of the Charter. Accordingly Dept intends at this time to stand on contractual rights embedded in original agreement with the understanding that price and quantities stipulations are negotiable in accordance with provisions of that agreement.

  1. Telegram 790 from Rio de Janeiro, July 16, not printed, contained the translation of a note dated July 15 from the Brazilian Foreign Office to the Embassy. The Brazilian note constituted a reply to the United States communication of July 12, the substance of which appears in telegram 511 to Rio de Janeiro, July 9, p. 727. (711.329/7–1648)
  2. Supra.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1889, p. 70.