225. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson in Texas1
Averell Harriman and I owe you an interim report on the effort to get troops from Brazil to Vietnam. With your permission we separated the $150 million program loan from the issue of troops, but in the same meeting in which Gordon told Castello Branco about the loan, he made a very strong pitch on the troops and made it clear how much this matters to you.2 Castello promised to give the matter his prayerful consideration. He pointed out that under the Brazilian Constitution Congressional approval is required before troops can be sent abroad and the Brazilian Congress does not reconvene before March. Gordon and our excellent military attaché General Walters (who are very close to Castello Branco) are following up on this and although it is clear that [Page 504] Castello faces a bigger and harder political problem than Harriman and I thought possible, Gordon and Walters think that in time a Branco contribution in some form can be worked out.
Just before Christmas Harriman submitted to me a memorandum for you on this subject, but he asked me to hold it to see whether we would get something more from the Brazilians in the next few days. Nothing new and startling has come in and the above report is the essence as it now stands.3
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Vietnam, Vol. XLIII, Memos (B), 12/13/65–12/31/65. Secret. The memorandum indicates that the President saw it. Bundy also attached a December 23 memorandum from Harriman to the President; see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. III, Document 240. Both were sent to the Ranch on December 31.↩
- An account of the meeting is in telegram 1456 from Rio de Janeiro, December 17. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Brazil, Vol. VI, 12/65–3/67)↩
- Although providing coffee and medical supplies, Brazil never sent troops or military supplies to Vietnam. (Department of the Army, Allied Participation in the Vietnam, p. 169)↩