210. Telegram From the Embassy in Brazil to the Department of State1
1733. Despite Mariani’s statement to President Kennedy that Quadros “had been moving with increased rapidity” away from pro-Castro position (Department telegram 1694)2 we believe it would be mistake to expect rapid reorientation Quadros policy vis-à-vis Cuban problem under present circumstances. While we do not by any means exclude possibility eventual shift Quadros Cuba policy in our favor, we believe he regards considerations which gave rise to present policy as still largely valid and that he will endeavor exhaust benefits this policy before moving to new ground. Although one of these considerations is almost certainly that cited by Mariani—i.e. that Quadros has felt obliged appease left through foreign policy concessions in order keep them off his back in field domestic policy—we suspect this justification may have been worked for more than it is worth. There are in our view other factors of at least equal importance which behind Quadros Cuba policy and which will conduce to its continuance, at least over short term. Principal among these factors are following:
- Cuba policy conspicuously at variance with that of US suits Quadros purpose of dramatizing new-found “independence” of Brazil in international field;
- While he undoubtedly finds certain aspects Castro’s conduct reprehensible, Quadros is instinctively attracted by revolutionary nature Castro regime and by its swashbuckling defiance of “colossus of north”
- He does not yet consider Cuba real threat to Brazil or to hemisphere (despite statement made to me recently by Secretary General Foreign Office that Quadros “much more alive to dangers of Castroism than he generally given credit for”);
- Pressures generated by domestic opposition to his Cuba policy not yet sufficiently strong to force him to alter that policy (in this connection recent announcement massive US aid to Brazil without political conditions has at least temporarily undercut opposition efforts discredit Quadros “independent” foreign policy);
- He aspires serve as mediator in peaceful settlement Cuban problem, which he continues regard as bilateral one between US and Cuba, and therefore feels Brazil must maintain viable relationship with Cuba as well as US until time is ripe for such mediation.
Any significant future shifts in GOB Cuba policy (and same could be said of GOB foreign policy in general) are likely be determined by President himself on basis of his own assessment his and Brazil’s self-interest (which he will define in terms his desire make himself world figure and Brazil major power). In this situation changes in existing policy in our favor might result from developments such as following:
- Consolidation of anti-Castro opinion within Brazil to point where continued benevolence toward Castro would clearly be political liability instead of asset, particularly to extent of endangering Quadros internal stabilization and reform programs;
- Conclusion on Quadros’ part that Cuba is in fact under control of international communism and that continuance existing situation would pose genuine threat to security Brazil and hemisphere—if, in other words, he should conclude that threat of Cuba-based Communist subversion outweighs political advantages his present “independent” stance;
- Conclusion on his part that Castro, whether Communist or not, in position successfully to challenge Quadros’ own aspirations for hemisphere leadership.
Until he sees clear advantage to be gained from change of policy, for foregoing or other reasons, believe we may expect Quadros continue take independent line on Cuba, playing up to leftist and ultra-nationalist opinion in his public statements while making occasional concessions to US point of view and never fully committing himself to either side.