213. Special National Intelligence Estimate1
THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN BRAZIL
To assess the stability of the Castello Branco regime and the outlook in Brazil during his stated term in office.
- President Castello Branco, whose term runs through January 1966, probably will provide reasonably effective political leadership along moderate reformist lines.2 It is unlikely that the supporters of deposed President Goulart will be able to mount a serious challenge to the stability of the new regime, although some leftist extremists may attempt demonstrative acts of violence to discredit it. The principal danger to the stability of the new regime is the possibility of a falling out between Castello Branco and some groups within the military who want a more thorough purge of the old political order. We believe that, with some concessions to expediency, he will succeed in maintaining general control of the situation. (Paras. 2–15)
- Brazil’s economic and social problems—worsened but not caused by Goulart’s disruptive rule—are not amenable to quick or painless solutions. The new regime is likely to take constructive steps on several fronts, but over the next years or so it probably will be unable to do much more than to lay a basis for future progress. It probably will enact a number of social reforms as an earnest of its concern for Brazil’s depressed classes, but will concentrate initially on combatting [Page 467] inflation and on other measures needed to get the economy rolling again. For political reasons, however, it probably will stop short of stringent austerity measures. It will need considerable foreign economic assistance to reschedule Brazil’s huge short-term debt and to help cushion the shock of the economic stabilization measures it does undertake. (Paras. 16–21)
[Omitted here is the Discussion section of the estimate.]
- Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–R01012A, O/DDI Registry. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet this estimate was prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency with the participation of the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State and Defense and the National Security Agency. The United States Intelligence Board concurrekd in this estimate on May 27.↩
- The Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, feels that the thrust of this estimate is overly optimistic in several respects. He believes that it does not adequately take into account the enormous gravity and many-sided challenge of the political situation; the persisting confrontation of powerful forces on both the right and the left which will hamstring necessary reformist action; the political inexperience of the President and most of his Cabinet and the absence of enough qualified second- and third-level technical personnel; and the prospective destabilizing role of some of the revolution’s military leaders who would emphasize continuing repressive action at the expense of meaningful social reforms. For these reasons, the Director believes that there is an even chance that the regime will slip into increasing authoritarianism, thus precipitating another constitutional crisis within the period of the estimate. [Footnote in the source text.]↩