227. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Mexican-Brazilian Communiqué


  • For Brazil:
    • Foreign Minister Dantas
    • Head of Cabinet of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gibson
    • Ambassador Campos, Brazilian Ambassador to U.S.
  • For the United States:
    • Secretary Rusk
    • Ambassador Gordon, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil
    • Mr. Edwin M. Martin, Assistant Secretary, ARA

During luncheon the Secretary pointed out some of the difficulties it created for American public opinion to read in the Goulart-Mateos2 communiqué that the two governments had no “ties with any political-military group.” It was the view of many Americans that we were participating together in an inter-American system which included defense arrangements under the Rio Treaty.

Our public could even less understand the need or the appropriateness of this kind of denial when they read in the immediate next paragraph the commitment to observe the arrangements in force for “mutual assistance for the Hemisphere’s defense.”

There ensued a discussion of what the Brazilians meant by an independent foreign policy as distinguished from systematic neutralism in which Dantas emphasized that they were supporting a policy which was in Brazil’s interest and would reach conclusions on international issues independently and as a reflection of their interests after careful examination of both sides. They would not be systematically neutral, which he interpreted to mean a member of a bloc which always advocated the middle position between the Soviet bloc and the Western bloc. In other words, they would exercise judgment and choose sides on specific issues.

The Secretary emphasized the importance in this respect of careful appraisal of the validity of the respective positions, pointing out that [Page 472] those who sought regularly for a middle ground merely encouraged the West to take an extreme position rather than a conciliatory one, since any concession by us merely moved the middle point over more closely to the Soviet position. Dantas seemed to understand this and agree with it.

The Secretary finally said that we would not object to an independent policy, in fact he wanted our friends to be independent but he thought that, if it were one that did reflect real judgment between the two camps, our common background and heritage and beliefs would bring them to our support more often than not.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Confidential. Drafted by Martin.
  2. Following his visit to the United States, President Goulart flew to Mexico City on April 8 where he held talks with President Adolfo Lopez Mateos. They issued a joint communiqué reaffirming the independence of Brazilian and Mexican foreign policies from any political or military bloc.