205. Telegram From the Embassy in Brazil to the Department of State1

1130. Berle2 had talk with Janio yesterday which lasted almost two hours. Talk at first centered on Brazilian financial difficulties. Berle again mentioned our willingness to grant $100 million loan. President was doubtful whether Brazil should accept this since in itself it would not solve Brazil’s financial problems. Janio again spoke of his intention to undertake drastic program which would make him very unpopular but which was necessary because country was on brink of bankruptcy. He strongly intimated his need for solid backing from US to enable him carry out program. He said he would send Moreira Salles shortly as special Ambassador to prepare way for mission headed by Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs.

Berle then introduced Cuban topic and pointed out grave danger that early explosion will take place in Caribbean area probably starting with Dominican Republic and Haiti. He indicated that inter-American action was essential to meet this threat and urged Brazil join US in undertaking such action. Janio’s reply to which he stubbornly clung was he [Page 427] could not undertake any bold maneuver in foreign field until he had financial and social crisis now confronting nation under better control. He said if he were to undertake any such action under present circumstances it would result in explosion here. At one point he commented he did not have majority in congress and was glad of it because majority would be too expensive. He did, however, seem to be in complete agreement with Berle’s analysis of Cuban situation. Berle and I got impression he was sincere in his position.

At another point in conversation Janio mentioned his anxiety to meet President Kennedy at unspecified date. Berle made no comment.

Of possible interest we noted on Janio’s table unsigned photo of Tito and ebony statue sent Janio by Che Guevara and presented by Prensa Latina representative. These have been added to engraving of Lincoln presented by Rockefeller which was only decoration there at time my first visit.

  1. Source: Department of State, Latin America Task Force Files: Lot 61 D 298, Brazil 1. Confidential.
  2. Adolf Berle, chairman of the President’s Task Force on Latin America, visited Brazil from February 27 to March 3.