99. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Colby to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


  • Decision by Brazilian President Ernesto Geisel To Continue the Summary Execution of Dangerous Subversives Under Certain Conditions

1. [1 paragraph (7 lines) not declassified]

2. On 30 March 1974, Brazilian President Ernesto Geisel met with General Milton Tavares de Souza (called General Milton) and General Confucio Danton de Paula Avelino, respectively the outgoing and incoming chiefs of the Army Intelligence Center (CIE). Also present was General Joao Baptista Figueiredo, Chief of the Brazilian National Intelligence Service (SNI).

3. General Milton, who did most of the talking, outlined the work of the CIE against the internal subversive target during the administration of former President Emilio Garrastazu Médici. He emphasized that Brazil cannot ignore the subversive and terrorist threat, and he said that extra-legal methods should continue to be employed against dangerous subversives. In this regard, General Milton said that about 104 persons in this category had been summarily executed by the CIE during the past year or so. Figueiredo supported this policy and urged its continuance.

4. The President, who commented on the seriousness and potentially prejudicial aspects of this policy, said that he wanted to ponder the matter during the weekend before arriving at any decision on [Page 279] whether it should continue. On 1 April, President Geisel told General Figueiredo that the policy should continue, but that great care should be taken to make certain that only dangerous subversives were executed. The President and General Figueiredo agreed that when the CIE apprehends a person who might fall into this category, the CIE chief will consult with General Figueiredo, whose approval must be given before the person is executed. The President and General Figueiredo also agreed that the CIE is to devote almost its entire effort to internal subversion, and that the overall CIE effort is to be coordinated by General Figueiredo.

5. [1 paragraph (12½ lines) not declassified]

6. A copy of this memorandum is being made available to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. [1½ lines not declassified] No further distribution is being made.

W.E. Colby
  1. Summary: Colby reported that President Geisel planned to continue Médici’s policy of using extra legal means against subversives but would limit executions to the most dangerous subversives and terrorists.

    Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 80M01048A: Subject Files, Box 1, Folder 29: B–10: Brazil. Secret; [handling restriction not declassified]. According to a stamped notation, David H. Blee signed for Colby. Drafted by Phillips, [names not declassified] on April 9. The line for the concurrence of the Deputy Director for Operations is blank.