119. Memorandum From the Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, March 18, 1969.1 2

[Page 1]

Tuesday - March 18, 1969

FROM Henry Kissinger [HK initialed]
SUBJECT Brazil — Economic and Military Assistance

Our economic and military assistance programs to Brazil have been “under review” since December 13, 1968, when President Costa e Silva decreed Institutional Act 5 giving him dictatorial powers. However, it has become necessary to reach decisions now on some previously authorized AID loans. In the attached memorandum Elliott Richardson reports that the NSC Under Secretaries’ Committee has decided to

-- disburse $50 million of the $75 million FY 1968 program loan, and

-- resume negotiations on nine AID project loans totalling $113 million authorized from FY 1967 and FY 1968 funds.

These are minimal steps designed to avoid seriously straining our relations with Brazil, particularly as we may be approaching a confrontation with Peru. Decisions on major new economic and military assistance for FY 1969 or FY 1970 funding will continue to be deferred so that we can preserve our major policy options with respect to Brazil pending completion of the upcoming NSC review of our overall policy toward Latin America.

However, one issue which will be coming back to the Under Secretaries’ Committee soon is a proposal to authorize construction of two Destroyer Escorts for Brazil in US shipyards. The Defense Department believes that a further delay in deciding this issue will have serious adverse consequences for our military and political relations with Brazil. On the other hand, congressional feeling is pretty strong against any military equipment deal with Brazil at this point, and State and AID are concerned that the entire AID Program may be jeopardized if we go forward with the Destroyers. No action on your part is required now, but I am bringing this to your attention because the issue may have to be decided before the NSC review of Latin American policy is completed.

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Elliott Richardson reports that in his consultations with the Congress, most, though not all, of the Congressmen consulted understand and seem to accept the decision to proceed with previous AID commitments.

This is the first instance in which the Under Secretary is informing you of operational decisions taken in the Under Secretaries’ Committee, consistent with the authorities delegated to him under National Security Decision Memoranda 2 and 3. Richardson plans to inform the Brazilians of these decisions later this week, unless you object.

I see no substantive difficulty with Richardson’s decisions and I therefore recommend that you authorize me to inform him that you have no objection.



Attachment Memorandum for the President from Under Secretary of State, March 17, 1969.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 771, Country Files, Latin America, Brazil through August 1970. Confidential. Sent for action. A handwritten note on the first page reads: “Note: President saw this, but did not indicate approval or disapproval.—A.” A handwritten notation by Haig on the second page of the memorandum reads: “No Action. —We assumed approval. AH.” Attached but not published is a March 17 memorandum from Richardson to the President, entitled “Brazil: Economic and Military Assistance.”
  2. President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger recommended that the U.S. Government proceed with previous aid commitments to Brazil, but hold in abeyance a decision to build two destroyer escorts.