Miller Files, Lot 53 D 26
The Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller) to the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Ridgway)
Dear Matt: I feel that I owe you some explanation for having caused General Bolt to telegraph you some time ago about the proposed Brazilian mission to Korea about which you have heard no more. All of us here have been disappointed in recent weeks as it has been increasingly apparent to us that the Brazilian Government is not going to take decisive action in this matter.
During the Foreign Ministers Conference which was held in Washington in March and April, Secretary Acheson and General Bolté had a very frank and apparently successful discussion with the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Neves da Fontoura, and his principal military advisers about the need of their sending a division to Korea. The Foreign Minister’s response and that of his military advisers was apparently most favorable and our hopes were aroused that we would get some definite action from Brazil. Subsequently, the Foreign Minister broached to me his idea of a Brazilian mission to Korea along the lines which General Bolté telegraphed you about, the purpose of which [Page 1212] was to pave the way, through arousing public opinion, for an effective military contribution by Brazil. The Foreign Minister was very pleased when we were able to notify him just before his return to Bio in May that SCAFE was agreeable to the idea of a mission. Immediately upon the Minister’s arrival in Rio he began what seemed to us to be a determined campaign to bring about a prompt decision and he had a number of enthusiastic conversations with Ambassador Johnson. His efforts were apparently aided by the return of General Estillac Leal, the Brazilian War Minister, to Bio after a very successful official visit to the United States1 who also seemed to favor in principle sending troops to Korea. At some point thereafter, for reasons unknown to us, the proposed mission to Korea ceased to be mentioned. Possibly the reason may have been that when the Foreign Minister had made some equivocal public statements about troops to Korea after his return from the Conference, I wired Ambassador Johnson to tell the Brazilians in no uncertain terms that they should not send the mission to Korea unless there was a bona fide intention in the first instance to send the troops. It did not seem to me wise to bother you with junketeers or to institute the precedent of sending missions as sort of trial balloons to test public sentiment.
In any event, instead of the mission to Korea we have your old friend General Goes Monteiro now visiting Washington for the alleged purpose of conducting discussions with the American military authorities as to Brazilian military cooperation, etc. The purpose of his trip is extremely vague and, although the General speaks in terms of Brazil’s implementing its international commitments and arousing public opinion in support of this objective, he spent the greater part of his talks with General Bolté and me recently in rehashing the familiar Brazilian complaints against the United States. All of this could be a prelude simply to an eventual request for military equipment which, of course, would be very difficult to comply with so that there is grave danger that General Goes Monteiro will return from what appears to be an ill-advised venture with his hands empty, thus setting back rather than forward our chances of real military cooperation from Brazil.
I have wanted you to have the full story as to why you did not hear more about the proposed military mission to Korea. I doubt that you will hear about it again, at least for the time being. However, we will keep after the matter.
With warmest regards,
- Maj. Gen. Estillac Leal visited the United States in May; documents pertaining to his visit are in decimal file 033.3211.↩