Secretary’s Staff Meetings, lot 63 D 75

Minutes of the Secretary’s Staff Meeting, Held at the Department of State, 9:30 a.m., February 24, 19531

SM N–106

[Here follow a list of those present (27) and discussion of matters unrelated to Brazil.]

[Page 609]

Brazilian Export–Import Credit

5. The Secretary reported that over the weekend the President had made a decision, in which the Secretary had concurred, with regard to $300-million which the Brazilians claim the U.S. had made a moral commitment to endorse. While the Brazilian argument was not conclusive, it was believed that the U.S. should go along with the Brazilians understanding of the commitment. The Secretary noted that there had been previous contact with the new administration on this matter. The President had taken a keen interest in it and did not want to lay the new Administration open to possible charges from the Latinos of bad faith with regard to commitments made with the old Administration.

Mr. Linder said his previous reasoning had been that since our moral commitment was made with regard to a figure between 100- and 150-million the present figure of 300-million seemed to change the basis of our agreement. This request, furthermore, may be only the first of a series of such requests and acquiescence now might establish a precedent. The Secretary said that the reduction in the 300-million figure was discussed in the White House, but it was felt that the U.S. would be freer to deal with subsequent requests if the U.S. went along with commitments the Brazilians believed had already been made.

[Here follows discussion of a matter unrelated to Brazil.]

  1. The Secretary’s staff meetings, held two or three times a week during the years 1952–1960, were attended by the Under Secretary of State, the Assistant Secretary of State, certain members of the Executive Secretariat, and certain office directors. A broad range of policy matters was discussed at these meetings; the Secretary normally presided.