832.2546/3–2450: Telegram

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

top secret

348. For Arneson Office Under Secretary. Mytel 328 March 22, 8 p. m.1 When I saw President Dutra2 this afternoon I found him familiar with subject matter and understanding of our point of view. I told him my government has been entirely satisfied with assurances [Page 545] previously given by Foreign Minister,3 that pending conclusion definite renewal on terms mutually satisfactory of secret agreement of 1945,4 stipulations of original agreement would continue in force. I then said that recent proposal for legislation to impose embargo on export all fissionable materials from Brazil with concomitant irresponsible attacks on Brazil’s agreement with US, had caused us concern and that my government would greatly appreciate his support to our endeavors to secure firm renewal our agreement, on terms mutually satisfactory to the two governments. I also spoke of genuine importance we attach to being able continue to receive Brazil’s exportable surplus of monazite.

President said he understood situation and likewise disapproved discussions in Congress and press re agreement. He said he had sent Ambassador Cyro de Freitas Valle, Under Secretary Foreign Office, with message to Mr. Cirilo Junior, President Chamber Deputies, disapproving proposal which has been made discuss projected embargo legislation and secret agreement in secret session chamber. He has informed President Chamber he does not desire subject to be discussed at secret session. I mentioned information Dr. Fernandes had given me of proposed legislation prepared in SC5 designed to set up government monopoly fissionable materials with SC as controlling agency. President nodded his affirmation this information and was good enough to say he would do what he could to expedite whole matter to conclusion. President agreed with me I should continue conversations with Foreign Minister Fernandes and Under Secretary Freitas Valle. I left with President very brief memorandum reading as follows:

“The US desires to continue to avail itself of the privilege of acquiring Brazil’s entire exportable surplus of raw monazite, on terms to be mutually agreed on. Should thorium, or compounds of thorium, become available in excess of Brazil’s own requirements, the US also desires to be accorded the privilege of acquiring all such thorium and compounds thereof on agreed terms. Motives involving the highest long range objectives of both countries impel the US to desire that the Government of Brazil will continue confine the export of monazite, thorium, and thorium compounds exclusively to consignees mutually satisfactory to Brazil and the U.S.”6

[Page 546]

This memo is in fact supplementary to secret memo given to Dr. Fernandes December 15,7 which President Dutra has seen. Reference top secret despatch 18, January 5, 19508 forwarding copy.

In memo left today I purposely omitted mention of “not less than 3,000 metric tons raw monazite a year”. Inasmuch as 3,000 tons export a year has not yet been reached and as Brazil has certain needs of her own for monazite, I felt it would be prudent omit this figure as it might give handle to some violent nationalist to say Brazil has no exportable surplus. In any event the two memoranda stand together.

Thank you for Deptel 198 March 24,8 which I received after my return from visit to President. I did not mention beryl to President as it is my understanding it will be included in proposed legislation and as there is now no restriction on its export except necessity of getting export license. I shall check on beryl with Dr. Fernandes at our next meeting.

  1. Not printed.
  2. General Eurico Gaspar Dutra, President of Brazil.
  3. Dr. Raul Fernandes.
  4. Reference is to the Memorandum of Agreement between the Governments of Brazil and the United States with respect to the control of monazite sands and other carriers of thorium and thorium compounds, signed in Rio de Janeiro, July 6, 1945; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, pp. 2023.
  5. The Brazilian Security Council.
  6. In a note of March 28, the Brazilian Foreign Office acknowledged the receipt of this memorandum. The text of the Brazilian reply is contained in telegram 373 from Rio de Janeiro, March 30, not printed. (832.2546/3–3050)
  7. For text of the memorandum of December 15, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. i, p. 603.
  8. Not printed.
  9. Not printed.