207. Editorial Note

In a teleconference on April 2, 1964 (4 p.m. EST), Ambassador Gordon reported that Army Chief of Staff Castello Branco had just confirmed that “democratic forces” were in full control of Rio Grande do Sul, thereby eliminating the last pocket of military resistance. When a radio station announced shortly thereafter that former President Goulart had arrived in Montevideo, Gordon relayed the news with the salutation: “Cheers!” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Brazil, Vol. II, 3/64) At 5 p.m. EST, the Embassy reported that Congress was not interested in a formal vote transferring power to the new government, preferring a fait accompli to “new juridical arguments.” The Embassy therefore recommended “proceeding forthwith with dignified LBJ public telegram” of congratulations to Acting President Mazzilli. (Telegram 2162 from Rio de Janeiro, April 2; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 BRAZ) Gordon reiterated this recommendation in a teleconference at 6 p.m., “despite continued uncertainty whereabouts Goulart.” After discussion among Secretary Rusk, Under Secretary Ball, and Deputy Under Secretary Johnson, the Department gave its tentative approval: “If you are satisfied that message from President Johnson to Mazzilli would not be premature and would not be interpreted as interference in internal affairs we are prepared to recommend to the President its prompt issuance this evening.” Gordon replied: “Since country now completely pacified and in hands democratic forces with congressional support even though no formal vote, I cannot see how message could be construed as interference. Since prospects congressional vote now seem minimal, I believe that the sooner we act the better.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Brazil, Vol. II, 3/64) President Johnson approved the message, which the White House released later that evening. The text of the message is in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–1964, Book I, page 433.