89. Letter From President Nixon to Brazilian President Médici1

Dear Mr. President:

Secretary Rogers has given me a full report of his conversation with you during his visit to Brazil this May. It is gratifying to know that the close and cooperative relations between our two nations remain as strong as ever.

As Secretary Rogers told you, one of the major objectives of my Government continues to be the maintenance and strengthening of peace in Vietnam. During the past six months important progress has been made in achieving that goal, which I regard as essential in order that the Vietnamese people may determine peacefully their political future and that stability and development may flourish in all of Indochina.

A vitally important element in the maintenance of peace is effective international supervision of the cease-fire in Vietnam and of other provisions of the January 27 Agreement and its Protocols. As you are aware, this function has been performed by the International Commission of Control and Supervision, composed of Indonesia, Canada, Hungary and Poland. Although the ICCS has been beset by many problems during the initial stages of its operations, it has made steady progress toward fulfilling its duties and, I am convinced, has played a most valuable role in assuring implementation of the peace agreement.

As you know, Canada, after nearly twenty years of involvement in cease-fire supervision in Indochina, has decided to terminate its participation in the ICCS at the end of this month. I believe that it is essential that the ICCS continue its important functions and that, to enable it to do so, Canada be replaced by another country which has the will and capability to help supervise the peace in Vietnam. After [Page 253] extensive consideration of this matter, including consultations with the South Vietnamese and Indonesian Governments, we have concluded that Brazil would be admirably qualified to take Canada’s place in the ICCS. I would therefore deeply appreciate your Government’s giving this matter its most serious consideration. If, as I hope will be the case, you should reach an affirmative decision, we would proceed to consult with the North Vietnamese Government prior to extending to your Government a formal invitation.

I realize that an undertaking of this nature involves many factors, including burdens on your country’s resources. Basically, about 300 of your citizens—perhaps 75 percent military and 25 percent civilians—would be involved in the ICCS operations. Minister Stanley M. Cleveland, my Chargé d’Affaires, whom I have asked to deliver this letter, can provide you with additional information regarding the personnel, logistical and financial aspects of this undertaking.

I regard this letter, Mr. President, as a continuation of the frank and fruitful dialogue we have maintained in the past regarding our responsibilities toward the world community. I believe the effective implementation of the peace agreements we have finally worked out in Vietnam is highly important to world peace and stability. Mindful of Brazil’s long tradition of participation in international peace-keeping efforts, I earnestly hope your Government will join in the effort to see that the peace agreements succeed in Vietnam.

With warmest personal regards.


Richard Nixon
  1. Summary: Nixon asked Médici if Brazil would send peacekeeping troops to Vietnam as part of the International Commission of Control and Supervision.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 749, Presidential Correspondence, President of Brazil Emilio Garrastazu Médici. Secret. Kissinger sent the letter to Nixon on July 16, under cover of a memorandum in which he informed the President that a letter from him to Médici would greatly improve the prospects of a favorable Brazilian reply. Although the memorandum of conversation between Rogers and Médici has not been found, Rogers briefed Nixon on his May 23 conversation with Médici in a May 29 meeting. (Conversation Between President Nixon and Secretary Rogers, May 29; ibid., White House Tapes, Cabinet Room, Conversation No. 124–3) On July 24, Médici informed Nixon that because some of the members of the ICCS were not upholding its mission, and its members had been subjected to attacks, he declined the President’s offer. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 749, Presidential Correspondence, President of Brazil Emilio Garrastazu Médici)