192. Telegram From the Army Attaché in Brazil (Walters) to the Department of the Army1

ARMA saw General Cintra at 2400 hours local Sunday.2 He had just come from meeting of resistance movement to Goulart and said it had been decided to take action this week on a signal to be issued later. Response to Castello Branco document from Second Army [Page 426] Commander General Kruel fully satisfactory. Kruel stated that he agreed one hundred percent with document and considered himself released from any obligation to Goulart by reasons of latter’s recent actions. Kruel added that if relieved as Second Army Commander he would not turn over command. Cintra said that when Castello Branco is relieved as Chief of Staff early this week he will immediately issue denunciation to nation. Helicopter has been laid on to move Castello Branco, Gen Cordeiro de Farias3 and Marshal Dutra out of Rio and on to Sao Paulo when movement is imminent. Cintra indicated that he and BGEN Syseno Garmento will remain in Rio de Janeiro. BGEN Moniz de Aragao will operate in Rio Vila Militar. Movement in Vila Militar will begin from bottom up and plans have been made to neutralize key units believed to be favorable to Goulart and leftists. Cintra said that central command of movement would initially be in Sao Paulo. Arrangements have been made with navy and air force for joint action. BGEN Souto Malan proceeding this morning to Porto Alegre with full instructions for Maj Gen Adalberto Pereira dos Santos there in command of Sixth Inf Div and next senior officer to Third Army Commander. Cintra confident of Minas Gerais Garrison and said Governor Magalhaes Pinto of that state eager for move. Total movement may be triggered by meeting of democratic governors in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.4 Day not yet decided for initiation of movement. Cintra seemed confident of success.

Major Moraes Rego leaves in morning for Recife carrying instructions for Fourth Army Commander Justino Alves Bastos. Comment: While this may be only talk ARMA has never seen Cintra as assured and positive. ARMA expects to be aware beforehand of go signal and will report in consequence. If opposition intends to do something this is time. Cintra stated flatly move would occur during coming week barring overriding reason for postponement as further waiting would only help Goulart.5

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Brazil, Vol. II, Cables, 3/64. Secret. Repeated to DIA, CINCSO, and COMUSARSO. No time of transmission appears on the copy printed here which is an information copy sent from the JCS and received at the White House at 7:12 p.m., and includes a handwritten note from Bromley Smith: “Linc Gordon asked that all who received his messages see this one from our army attaché.”
  2. March 29.
  3. Reference is to the following military leaders: Osvaldo Cordeiro de Farias, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff; Eurico Gaspar Dutra, former President of Brazil (1946–1951); Siseno Sarmento, Chief of Staff to Costa e Silva; and Augusto César Moniz de Aragão.
  4. April 1.
  5. Walters gave the following account in his memoirs: “I told the Ambassador [Gordon] on Sunday, March 30, that all of my information pointed to an imminent action by those Brazilian officers who feared that further delay would create an irreversible situation. I told the Ambassador that I felt the provocation the plotters had been awaiting had just been given by the President [Goulart] in seeking to disrupt the discipline, unity and hierarchy of the armed services.” (Silent Missions, p. 386) At 7 p.m. (EST), Gordon reported: “Conviction is spreading here also that showdown will result from current sequence of events. We think critical point could come soon, perhaps even in next day or so.” (Telegram 2116 from Rio de Janeiro, March 30; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9)