203. Paper by the Operations Coordinating Board1



To establish close and friendly relations as soon as possible with the new Brazilian President Janio Quadros and with his administration which assumed office this week.2 In addition to bilateral considerations, the Brazilian role in current hemispheric problems is of critical importance to the United States. President Quadros’ avoidance of contact with U.S. officials thus far and reports of his inclination toward an independent foreign policy adds to the urgency of the problem.

Current Action

The Bureau of Inter-American Affairs in the Department of State believes it is extremely important that the United States take the initiative to quickly establish good relations with the new Brazilian administration by offering U.S. assistance in meeting Brazil’s balance of payments problem through an Eximbank line of credit and through the “Food for Peace” program, and to help Brazil to meet the problem of its depressed Northeast territory through the new Social Development program. State believes this U.S. offer of assistance will be more effective if recognized as a friendly U.S. action disconnected from any pressure from President Quadros. Assistant Secretary Thomas C. Mann has incorporated these proposals in the form of an instruction to Ambassador Cabot to offer such assistance to President Quadros, and is currently attempting to secure the necessary clearances in State and from Treasury, Agriculture, and the Eximbank.


Brazilian leaders believe that their country is destined to become one of great world powers. Brazil has been resentful in the past with being treated by the United States as if it were just another of the Latin [Page 424] American “banana” republics. It has sought a special relationship with the United States, desiring to be consulted by the U.S. on matters affecting the hemisphere. Also, Brazil has led the demands that the United States embark on a large-scale aid program for Latin America on the same scale as the Marshall Plan. It feels the $500 million social development program proposed by the United States is a step in the right direction although it is disappointed by the magnitude. A Governor of one of the economically depressed provinces of Northeast Brazil has recently requested U.S. assistance on an urgent basis to combat growing Communist influence in that poverty-stricken area through a rural land development program.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Brazil, January 1-February 24, 1961. Secret. Drafted by Marotta.
  2. Janio Quadros became President of Brazil on January 31, 1961.