196. Editorial Note

At 9:46 a.m. on March 31, 1964, Secretary of State Rusk called Assistant Secretary Mann to discuss the emerging coup d’état in Brazil: “Sec said M might want to get someone to put together task force of 3–4 to start working on post coup emergency assistance for Brazil. They discussed the confusing situation; don’t know how much is true. Sec suggested M’s calling President to keep him informed. M said he would prefer after the 11 am meeting; there would be much more to say.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls 3/20/64–4/9/64) Later that morning Rusk chaired an interagency meeting on Brazil. (Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book) In addition to Rusk, the participants included Secretary of Defense McNamara, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Taylor, Lieutenant General O’Meara, and Director of Central Intelligence McCone. (Message for Embassy Rio, March 31; ibid., National [Page 432] Security File, Country File, Brazil, Vol. II, 3/64) Other scheduled attendees were Under Secretary Ball, Deputy Under Secretary Johnson, Mann, Deputy Assistant Secretary Kitchen, Special Assistant to the President Bundy, Lieutenant General Goodpaster, Assistant Secretary of Defense McNaughton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Sloan, and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Helms. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, U. Alexis Johnson Files: Lot 90 D 408, Date Books, 1964) After briefings on the latest developments and U.S. support capabilities, the agenda called for consideration of possible military and political action, including the dispatch of a naval task force, oil tankers, and an airlift of ammunition to Brazil. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Brazil, Vol. II, 3/64) No substantive record of the discussion at the meeting has been found.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff met on March 31 to review a revised contingency plan for Brazil, USCINCSO Contingency Plan 2–61. Talking points for the meeting recommended that the JCS deploy a naval task force toward Brazilian waters but defer any decision on whether to provide “covert delivery of arms to the Castello Branco Group.” In the event of civil war in Brazil, however, the United States should “be prepared unilaterally to deliver arms and other material support on an overt basis, employing any available means, to the faction whose victory would best serve U.S. interests.” (Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 69 A 7425, Brazil) No substantive record of the meeting has been found.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Solomon also chaired an inter-agency task force on March 31, which met to consider economic assistance to Brazil, on the assumption that a “democratically-inclined pro-Western group” came to power. The task force recommended that the “most effective form of assistance” would be for creditor nations to participate in a voluntary, 3-month moratorium on payment toward Brazil’s debt. (Memorandum from Weismann to Burton, March 31; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, ARA/BR Files: Lot 66 D 418, AID, 1964) The Department forwarded the “preliminary views” of the task force to the Embassy for further comment. (Telegram 1316 to Rio de Janeiro, April 1; ibid., Central Files 1964–66, FN 14 BRAZ)