145. Memorandum From the Acting Director of Central Intelligence (Cushman) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Alleged Commitments Made by President Richard M. Nixon to Brazilian President Emilio Garrastazu Medici

1. During the state visit of Brazilian President Emilio Garrastazu Medici to the United States from 6 to 9 December 1971, he proposed that the United States and Brazil cooperate in helping other democratic countries in Latin America counter the trend of Marxist/leftist expansion. [text not declassified] President Nixon took great interest in this proposal and promised to assist Brazil when and wherever possible. President Medici was very pleased with this interest in Latin America and with the promise of future cooperation and assistance.

2. [text not declassified] reported that General Vicente Dole Coutinho, commander of the Fourth Army, and other field grade officers in the Northeast, have learned from a “Cabinet leak” that secret talks between the two Presidents were of great importance in the formulation of Brazilian [Page 2] foreign policy. They believe the focus of the secret talks was security of the hemisphere, and that President Nixon reportedly asked support from President Medici in safeguarding the internal security and status quo in the hemisphere, including the governments of Bolivia and Uruguay. President Medici was receptive to the alleged request, since he personally believes the Brazilian government must assume a greater role in defending neighboring, friendly governments. General Coutinho’s reaction to this was that the United States obviously wants Brazil to “do the dirty work,” and he foresees great responsibilities and some disadvantages in it for Brazil, especially for the military.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Secretary Subject Files, Job 80–B01086A, Box 12, Brazil. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A copy was sent to the Secretary of State. The covering memorandum stated: “The attached memorandum contains comments regarding commitments allegedly made to President Médici by President Nixon. They have not been included in the dissemination and are being forwarded for your information.” Attached but not published is Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Information Cable TDCSDB 315/07838–71, December 22, “Reactions within Brazil to Visit of President Emílio Garrastazu Médici to the United States.” On December 20, in a conversation with British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Nixon stated: “The Brazilians helped rig the Uruguayan election.”
  2. According to CIA reporting, Presidents Nixon and Médici held a secret conversation in which they discussed support for “safeguarding the internal security and status quo in the hemisphere, including the governments of Bolivia and Uruguay.”