128. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, May 19, 1970.1 2

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NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
ACTION
May 19, 1970

MEMORANDUM FOR DR. KISSINGER
FROM: Viron P. Vaky [VV initialed]
SUBJECT: Brazil and Reuss Amendment to Foreign Military Sales Act

The Interdepartmental Political/Military Group (IPMG) has considered the question of the applicability of the Reuss Amendment to Brazil in connection with pending Brazilian requests to purchase military equipment. The Reuss amendment expresses the sense of the Congress that military sales should not be made if they would arm military dictators who are “denying the growth of fundamental rights or social progress to their own people” unless the President determines it to be in the security interests of the U.S. The amendment is not binding; there are no procedures for formal waiver or report to the Congress.

The IPMG has recommended that, whether or not the amendment applies to Brazil, reasonable sales should be made to that country given its importance to the interests of the U.S. The Under Secretary approved the recommendation.

Pending cash sales will now be completed. The Department also plans to release $15 million in credit earmarked since FY 1967 and 1968 to purchase helicopters and transport aircraft. Another $15 million in credit from FY 1970 funds requested by Brazil may also be made available as well.

The attached memo from State (Tab B) asks whether you have any objection to proceeding on this basis. They want to be sure the White House concurs.

I believe that you should concur. Although the sales will arouse some Congressional criticism, this should be tolerable. The proposed sales are reasonable and relatively small; to refuse to process these Brazilian requests would be a very serious irritant causing damage to our relations out of proportion to the requests themselves. The Reuss amendment is not a binding requirement and hence the procedure followed by the Under Secretaries Committee seems in order. In effect the issue of selling equipment to Brazil was previously decided in principle when the recommendation to waive Conte-Long provisions for jet sales to Brazil was approved by the President.

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The attached memo at Tab A informs State that you have no objection to the Under Secretary’s decision to release pending sales cases.

RECOMMENDATION:

That you sign the memo to Ted Eliot at Tab A.

Concurrence: Osgood [REO initialed]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 771, Country Files, Latin America, Brazil, Vol. 1, Through August 1970. Secret. Sent for action. Osgood concurred. Attached but not published are Tabs A and B. Tab A is a May 23 memorandum from Kissinger informing Eliot of his approval of the recommendation and Tab B is a May 16 memorandum from Eliot to Kissinger.
  2. National Security Council staff member Vaky recommended that the Administration complete “pending cash sales” of U.S. armaments to Brazil, despite some Congressional opposition.