197. Telegram From the Embassy in Brazil to the Department of State 1

2125. For Secretary from Ambassador. Deptel 1296.2

I warmly welcome reftel. Things moving very quickly with apparently reliable reports military movements in Minas Gerais fully backed by Governor Magalhaes Pinto and state police. As of noon, no clear indications corresponding action Sao Paulo or other states.
I have taken action to get to key governors’ message on vital importance color of legitimacy, stressing desirability political coverage by majority Congress if that humanly possible. My intermediaries are inquiring how governors’ group proposes handle critical question mantle of legitimacy and position as defenders of constitution, both in immediate and in subsequent actions, if congressional coverage not available.3
Most urgent logistical problem is motor and aviation gasoline in event normal supplies become unavailable to friendly forces. Local Esso contact states only Avgas tanker en route is Petrobras vessel, and he knows of no Mogas in South Atlantic. Immediate action set this in motion is in order. We are developing recommendations on possible arms and ammunition requirements.
Goulart’s Monday night speech to sergeants,4 which was ending when you telephoned, looks like last straw. He made appropriate verbal bows to constitution and legality, to church, and to green and yellow nationalism rather than red models, but this was transparent disguise for active support of subversion in NCO’s and psychological warfare against officer corps, as well as Congress, press, and foreign and domestic business groups. While dictating this, I received reliable report that Kubitschek phoned Goulart this morning to declare his open opposition and has so stated to press.5
After deducting sixty-four dollars from my pay, my present judgment is that this might not be last opportunity, but well might be last good opportunity to support action by anti-Goulart group which still occupies large proportion strategic military commands and direction state-level forces in cohesive region states accounting for over half population and all industry. I believe your major decision should be in affirmative and will be preparing recommend means giving resistance forces additional impetus.
Your background briefing statement supplementing House Committee Report was very well played here in press and serves immediate purpose desired by my recommendations for some public expression interest and concern.6
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 BRAZ. Top Secret; Nodis; Flash. Received in the Department at 12:21 p.m. and repeated at 6:23 p.m. to the White House for Bundy, OSD for McNamara, and CIA for McCone only. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Brazil, Vol. II, 3/64)
  2. Document 194.
  3. Gordon’s instructions are in telegrams 96 to Belo Horizonte, 235 to Brasilia, and 101 to Sao Paulo. (All March 31; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 BRAZ)
  4. March 30; an account of the speech was transmitted in telegram 2120 from Rio de Janeiro, March 31. (Ibid., POL 23–8 BRAZ)
  5. See footnote 2, Document 203.
  6. Mann told Rusk earlier that the Brazilian Chargé d’Affaires had complained about the press reports, predicting that he would receive “protest instructions.” Mann asked how the press spokesman should handle the incident at the noon briefing and “it was agreed he should say in view of the situation we are making no official comment and are following the situation closely. Sec said if Linc thinks we cannot get away with that, we will take another look. They agreed we should play for time; maybe tomorrow we could talk.” (Mann to Rusk, March 31, 11:20 a.m.; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls 3/20/64–4/9/64)