Miller Files, Lot 53 D 26

The Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller) to the Ambassador in Brazil (Johnson)1

top secret
official business—informal

Dear Herschel: I have delayed replying to your thoughtful and extremely helpful letter of September 212 pending the conclusion of the visit of General Goes Monteiro. Before commenting on the letter specifically, I should like to make some general comments on the visit.

General Goes Monteiro left on the 15th for New York to consult with Muñiz. He seemed reasonably satisfied with his visit although I think he may have been somewhat disappointed that he did not receive comments from Bio on the draft agreement which General Bolte gave him and that he won’t know the reaction in Rio to this proposal until he gets back there.

I have to confess to you that I certainly misjudged General Goes Monteiro on the basis of my first conversation with him, after which I telegraphed you so frantically. Having then informed you that the General seemed to have lost some of his mental capacity, I must now say that he lost it just like a fox. He is a cagy and deliberate man who knows just what he wants and what his bargaining leeway is. He came up here under very difficult circumstances since he was, in fact, the sacrificial offering in lieu of the late-lamented mission to Korea. He also came up into a situation in Washington where our military leaders are being pulled from all directions with requests for military equipment of which we are terribly short. Furthermore, he was negotiating against a background in his own country where the situation is none too solid in terms of the government’s ability to gain approval of a real contribution in Korea. Finally, the General must have felt a let-down in dealing in these negotiations with people of the rank of myself and lower in the Department of State and with a brigadier [Page 1230] general in Defense, whereas when he had come up before World War 2 he had lunched alone with FDR twice. …

With all of these handicaps, General Goes Monteiro did extremely well and I have the feeling that he is going back in a relatively happy frame of mind. … I am convinced that Goes Monteiro wants to send a division to Korea and that he is going to go back to Brazil and make a fight. The Pentagon did a good job of sticking to its guns on this point and I have the impression that General Goes overruled some of his own military advisers up here. … I also believe, from everything that I have seen during the visits of Lafer and Goes—both of whom talked to me with complete frankness—that Neves da Fontoura, Lafer and Goes consider themselves a team which constitutes the vanguard of anti-Russian and pro-U.S. sentiment in Brazil. Both Lafer and Goes spoke about each other in terms of the highest admiration and both spoke in the same sense about Neves. It is extremely fortunate, I believe, that all three have been up here since the Vargas regime went in and that all three have returned apparently well satisfied. When Bandy and I called on Goes last Saturday, he spoke with complete frankness about the communist menace in Brazil and the extent to which communist activities paralyze action on the part of the Brazilian Government. He referred over and over again to the need of the administration to consolidate itself internally and of the difficulties presented by the fact that there are 14 political parties represented in the Chamber of Deputies and 7 in the Senate. He spoke time and again about the Clube Militar problem, and on Saturday stated flatly that he had to go back to Brazil to prevail upon Vargas to remove Estillac Leal.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To return to your letter of September 21. I appreciate your having written in such detail and keeping us posted. In the discussions with the General we have concentrated on the primary objective of obtaining as soon as possible a Brazilian offer of participation with an infantry division in Korea. This is the fundamental reason why we have felt that the present discussions should not be extended to cover more ground than necessary. [Here follows discussion, which was not declassified for publication, concerning possible revision of the 1942 military agreement between Brazil and the United States.]

You will by now have received a copy of my letter of October 123 in reply to General Bolte on the question of expanding the activities of the JBUSMC and the JBUSDC and the establishment of a Joint Brazil-United States Defense Board. You state on page two of your letter that you know little of the activities of the JBUSDC in Washington. In point of fact the duties of that group have been practically [Page 1231] nil. Under the proposal made to me by General Bolte the Defense Commission would have a job to do.

The proposal for a Joint Defense Board stems from the successful experience that Defense has had with similar boards involving Canada and Mexico. It has been suggested that the Defense Board would meet quarterly, meetings to alternate between the United States and Brazil. General Bolte and General Walsh have both emphasized their desire to have participation and close cooperation, from State. They would like similar participation apparently on the Military Commission and the Defense Commission. The suggestion for participation on the Military Commission is a little ludicrous in view of your information that the Defense people up here have failed totally to keep their own people on the Military Commission in Rio informed of any of the pending developments, including the Goes Monteiro discussions. I am glad that you have been able to keep them up to date.

With kindest regards,

Sincerely yours,

Edward G. Miller, Jr.
  1. All of the deleted portions of this letter contain personal references, except as indicated in bracketed note, p. 1230.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.