219. Special National Intelligence Estimate1

SNIE 93-2-61


The Problem

To estimate the outlook for Brazil up to the October 1962 elections, with special reference to the orientation and prospects of the Goulart government.


The constitutional compromise which enabled Goulart to succeed to the Presidency after Quadros’ resignation in August 1961 has left a confused atmosphere in which the locus of executive power is uncertain. Nevertheless, Goulart has emerged as considerably more than a figurehead President and his principal concern will be to maintain and, if possible, to increase the prestige and power of the Presidency and of his Brazilian Labor Party (PTB). To this end, he will exploit his influence in labor and leftist circles while seeking to avoid undue offense to conservative elements, particularly the military, who continue to view him with suspicion because of his long record of collaboration with the Communists. Meanwhile, the various political forces will be jockeying for control of the executive power and for victory in the October 1962 election. (Paras. 5-11, 15-16, 19, 23-24)
In these circumstances the short-range prospects for the growth of Communist influence in Brazil are favorable. The Communists will benefit by the tolerance not only of Goulart but of many other Brazilian political leaders. They will probably encounter little effective competition or governmental restriction in their efforts to entrench themselves in areas where agrarian and social unrest is most acute and will also benefit to some extent by the entry of additional party members or sympathizers into the bureaucracy. However, it is unlikely that Communist infiltration of the government will go so far as to give the Communist Party a significant influence on the formulation and execution of policy within the period of this estimate. (Paras. 12, 18, 25-26)
The initial indecisiveness of the new government and the blow to national confidence engendered by the succession crisis have caused a new decline in Brazil’s economic and financial situation. Nevertheless, given the continued disbursement of the credits called for in the May 1961 aid package, the government can probably keep going financially until the fall of 1962, though no substantial improvement in the basic causes of the country’s financial disequilibrium is likely. Although legislation on the reforms promised by Quadros and espoused by the current administration will probably be enacted, it is not likely to be sufficient to assuage popular discontent. Thus the regime is likely to be plagued by recurring political crises and possibly by breakdowns in public order. On balance, however, we believe that Goulart and the present constitutional system will probably survive up to the October 1962 elections. It is less likely that the present Council of Ministers will last that long. (Paras.20-22, 27-29)
The present government will continue to emphasize the “independent” character of its foreign policy, but the need for US financing, as well as domestic political considerations, will probably render it less truculent toward the US than was the Quadros administration. Although Brazil has already re-established diplomatic relations with the USSR, development of diplomatic and economic ties with Bloc countries will probably not go much beyond the existing framework. Brazil will almost certainly continue to oppose sanctions against Castro, though if most major Latin American states were disposed to take some limited action, it would probably go along. (Para. 31)

[Here follows the 5-page “Discussion” section of this estimate.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency Files, Job 79-R01012A, ODDI Registry. Secret. According to a covering sheet, this estimate was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Joint Staff. All members of the USIB concurred in this estimate on December 7 except the representatives of the AEC and FBI, who abstained, the subject being outside their jurisdictions.