832.50 JTC/10–848: Airgram

The Ambassador in Brazil (Johnson) to the Secretary of State


A–558. During the first month of its presence in Brazil the US Section of the JBUSTC, generally termed the “Abbink Mission”, has been the subject of extensive press comment, ranging from mildly favorable in tenor to abusive and malicious attacks on the Mission by extreme left and ultra-nationalist organs.

Styling the head of the Mission as “Viceroy Abbink” and “H. M. Dom João Abbink”, the communist dailies have presented the US Delegation as representing the monopolistic interests of Wall Street, an instrument of American imperialism and economic penetration, and have asserted that its presence in Brazil is another move by the United States to hold the country in colonial bondage to facilitate the exploitation of its natural resources. See in this connection Embdesps. [Page 367] 1129, October 4, 1056, September 13, and 1022, August 30.1 The ultra-nationalist press particularly O Mundo has launched violent attacks on Abbink and on the Commission including its Brazilian members. See Embdesp 1041, September 3.2

It was obvious from the mendacious and vituperative nature of these attacks, which reached their highest pitch just prior to Mr. Abbink’s departure, that the Communists and ultra-nationalists were conducting well organized and financed campaigns to sabotage the work of the Mission and, by using the Mission as a vehicle, to discredit by deliberate misrepresentation of facts, the efforts of the United States to bring about a greater economic stability throughout the world.

The attitude of the moderate press toward the Mission has been vacillating and passive. Consisting in the main of tepid expressions of hope that the work of the Commission will redound to the benefit of Brazil, the publication of remarks by members of JBUSTC, and official release covering the day to day activities of the subcommittees, it has had little appreciable effect in offsetting the Communist and ultra-nationalist propaganda.

The absence thus far of warm and forthright support of the Abbink Mission by the moderate press can be accounted for in part by the reluctance of responsible elements, particularly within the Brazilian Government to become involved and subject to attack from both leftist and rightist groups. There also is the fact that a large sector of public opinion and of the press is still unconvinced that the Mission will succeed in accomplishing what previous missions have failed to achieve, and that is paving the way for a comprehensive development of Brazil’s resources. Another reason for the failure of the Mission to receive more active support from the press is that certain organs are closely allied with special interest groups, wherein opinion with respect to the Mission is divided, and not wishing to take sides, these organs have maintained a noncommital middle of the road attitude.

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