349. Telegram From the Ambassador in Brazil (Briggs) to the Department of State 1

617. Re my telegram 613.2 President Kubitschek invited me to his office this morning for post mortem his last week’s efforts and preview things to come. He spoke with apparent and I may add engaging frankness to following effect:

His activities last week on our behalf included ten hours personal effort with special cabinet and NSC sessions. He said had to overcome very considerable opposition but text submitted to US yesterday improvement from US point of view over previous and represents best he can do. Even so Communists and others are likely to cause him plenty of trouble. Military insisted inclusion of Article 6 and President hopes we can now get on with that business and [Page 730] keep Brazilian military off his neck as well as ours. He mentioned but did not dwell on rivalry with Argentina; implying clearly he does not have in mind parity of treatment in military matériel as satisfactory to Brazil. (I am drafting separate telegram on this subject).3

However said primary purpose summoning me was for general round-up US-Brazilian collaboration.

As far as Kubitschek personally concerned he said that while he acknowledges and recognizes importance of continuing collaboration between Brazilian-US armed services (having in mind Brazil’s strategic location, great geographic extent and tradition of military collaboration) it is closer and more effective economic collaboration that he has primarily on his mind—that is, arrangements discussed by his mission in Washington last July and subsequently formulated in joint EXIM Bank statement but still largely awaiting implementation, pending wheat operation (which as reported separate telegram today he promises expedite),4 and Brazil’s need for additional merchant vessels. President understands we have approximately 50 ships now in mothballs; he would like to buy 24 already mentioned by Peizoto in recent conversation with Rubottom, plus 6 more of different types. He indicated request for ships urgent. (Department’s A–1595 just received, after conversation with President.)

Regarding all of these requirements President said Brazil desires to depend primarily on US and he implied success or failure his administration would be in measure we are able to aid him. Finally he said that along with Brazil’s Fernando Noronha note he has directed Foreign Minister Macedo Soares to give US overall statement covering Brazil’s needs, hence would not go into further detail now. (This is new idea; Foreign Minister indicated yesterday, as reported Embtel 613, that impending communication would be limited to Brazilian defense requirements.)

. . . . . . .

3. As indicated above future military collaboration subject of separate telegram.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 732.5–MSP/12–1856. Secret; Priority.
  2. In telegram 613, December 17, Ambassador Briggs reported that the Brazilian Foreign Ministry had handed him that afternoon a final draft text of the proposed facilities agreement. He noted that it was an improvement over the draft previously handed to him by President Kubitschek on December 14. “It is also in my opinion,” he added, “best we are likely to get and unless we act promptly opposition may still succeed in blocking whole arrangement.” He continued with a discussion of the draft text, noting in particular article 6, in which the Brazilians proposed that the United States increase MDAP funds to Brazil in return for American use of the Fernando de Noronha site. (Ibid., 732.5–MSP/12–1756) The text of the Brazilian note was transmitted to the Department in telegram 612 from Rio de Janeiro, December 17. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 619, infra .
  4. Telegram 618 from Rio de Janeiro, December 18. (Department of State, Central Files, 411.3241/12–1856)
  5. Airgram A–159, December 12, reported on the current status of the Brazilian Government’s interest in acquiring additional vessels from the U.S. Reserve Fleet. (Ibid., 932.739/11–156)