Secretary’s Letters, lot 56 D 459

Memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affair’s (Mann) to the Secretary of State 1


To obtain the introduction in the Congress of the necessary legislation to permit the sale and transfer to Brazil of up to 12 coastwise vessels.


It will be noted that the attached letters2 to the Vice President3 and the Speaker of the House of Representatives4 refer solely to Brazil’s economic need for coastal vessels, and to the United States national interest.

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The Department on October 23, 1952 addressed a communication to the Brazilian Ambassador outlining a four point proposal designed to solve our outstanding shipping problems with Brazil. This proposal involves: (1) Brazil to improve port conditions to save shipping companies and importers millions of dollars annually, (2) Brazil to eliminate certain discriminations, (3) United States to allow waivers permitting Brazilian ships to carry up to 50 percent of the Export–Import Bank loan cargo, and (4) the Department to seek legislation to permit the sale of coastal vessels from the reserve fleet.5 On March 2, 1953 the Brazilian Ambassador advised the Department of the Brazilian Government’s acceptance of the proposal. The Brazilians have suspended the discriminations by administrative action and are seeking legislation to eliminate them from their statutes. They are also making progress in the matter of port improvements. The United States has granted the waivers and the next step is for the Department to seek the subject legislation to permit the sale of coastwise vessels to Brazil. The United States shipping lines operating to Brazil have agreed to support such legislation, and the CIO Maritime Union will not object to this legislation. Heretofore, since the termination in 1948 of authority for the sale of the war built vessels to non-citizens, both industry and unions have consistently opposed any efforts to obtain legislative authorization to sell such vessels to foreign countries.


It is recommended that you sign the attached letters6 to the Vice President of the United States and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives in order that the first step toward the introduction of this legislation may be accomplished.

  1. Drafted by Gerald W. Russell of the Office of Regional American Affairs; concurred in by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, the Office of Transport and Communication Policy, and the Offices of Regional American Affairs and South American Affairs.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Richard M. Nixon.
  4. Joseph W. Martin, Jr. (R.–Mass.).
  5. In a memorandum to the Secretary, dated Oct. 10, 1952, Mr. Linder stated that E could not endorse ARA’s overall shipping proposal with respect to Brazil because the Bureau was opposed to legislation that would reward Brazil for discriminating against U.S. ships, grant special treatment to a single country in view of the Department’s assurances to other countries that their shipping needs would be considered in new legislation, and committing the incoming administration to “a type of legislation which had proved extremely unpopular with the Congress in the past.” (Miller files, lot 53 D 26, “Brazil”)
  6. The letters were signed by the Secretary and sent under date of July 1, 1953; they are not printed.