185. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Brazil1

63112. Subject: Rebuilding A Security Relationship With Brazil

1. S–Entire text.

2. Summary. This cable lays out an agreed rationale for rebuilding our security relationship with Brazil, general goals of such a relationship and a proposed package of military initiatives to be implemented during the remainder of CY 1980 for the purpose of facilitating the accomplishment of these goals. The mission is authorized to seek Brazilian cooperation in the implementation of the initiatives outlined in this cable. Major FMS transactions would, of course, require appropriate notification of the US congress. End summary.

3. Since 1977, when the then-existing military agreements were terminated by the GOB, military relations have been exceedingly limited.2 The current world security situation and the political “opening” in Brazil are conducive to US action to rebuild our security relationship. This process has been begun with our improved security dialogue and the upgrading of US and Brazilian service attaches to general/flag rank.

4. Additional steps are necessary, however, given Brazil’s growing importance to the U.S. in the security area because of its:

—Geographic location in relation to important shipping lanes in the South Atlantic;

—Pivotal role as second largest military establishment in the Western Hemisphere in OAS and Rio Treaty security and in any regional arms restraint initiatives;

—Military capabilities, especially its roles as the major armed force in South America and as a major naval power in the South Atlantic;

—Rapidly developing arms industry and arms export capabilities, especially directed toward third world markets;

—Long-term programs in advanced technology with military applications, such as its nuclear and space launch vehicle programs; and

—Growing heavy industrial capabilities, such as its substantial shipbuilding capacity.

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5. Our goals include:

—Restore Brazilian understanding of the U.S. determination to maintain the military strength of the West;

—Reestablish Brazilian confidence in the U.S. as a reliable security partner;

—Expand mutual sensitivity to shared security concerns including increased Soviet naval activity in the South Atlantic;

—Secure Brazilian cooperation in surveillance of the South Atlantic, such as base support for ad hoc [less than 1 line not declassified] and the upgrading of the Brazilian Navy’s surveillance capabilities:

—Promote in Brazil’s officer corps an understanding of the United States, of the values and principles underlying US foreign policy and of US military doctrine; and

—At the same time, increase U.S. sensitivity to Brazil’s own interests and growing security ties to other third world nations.

6. To accomplish the above, the USG will seek to take the following military initiatives with Brazil during the remainder of calendar year 1980:

A. Visits

USAF Chief of Staff to visit Brazil in March;

—VADM Hanson, Director of the Joint Staff, to meet with EMFA officials in Brasilia, in early April;

—Brazilian Air Force Chief of Staff to be invited to U.S. in April;

—US Army Chief of Staff to invite Brazilian Army Chief of Staff in August;

—Possible visit by commandant of army command and staff school (ECEME) to Ft. Leavenworth; and

—Encourage orientation visits to U.S. by Brazilian Military schools;

USAF briefing team to visit Brazilian air command and staff college (ECEMAR).

B. Exercises

—Brazilian Navy/Marine Corps invited to participate in readex 2–80 in July–August;

—Brazilian army invited to send observers to reforger exercise in September; and

—Unitas XXI—July–November;

—Possible invitation to Brazilian Air Force to USAF red flag exercise.

C. Exchanges

—Support for the ambassador’s long-term goal of a significantly expanded exchange program.

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—USMC to accept Brazilian Marine Corps offer to send an officer to US as part of PEP;

—US Air Force to initiate a personnel exchange program; and

—US Army to expand PEP (Brazilian Army, however, should fill current vacant PEP slots).

D. FMS sales and commercial sales. Such sales would be in conformance with PD–13 guidelines. We are prepared to consider favorably.

—Brazilian interest in purchasing FMS training;

—Brazilian interest in purchasing FMS equipment;

—Brazilian requests to purchase munitions control items; and

—Particular consideration will be given to Brazilian interest in upgrading its Air Force and naval surveillance capabilities.

E. Other Initiatives

—US Army marksmanship detachment visit tentatively scheduled for September–December;

—Cinclant to explore providing two helicopters to lift heavy equipment required for construction of an air facility on Trinidade Island;

—The US Navy to explore increased ship visits to Brazil;

—Invite visit of Brazilian naval training ship;

—Follow-up on joint USN-Brazilian Navy research effort along the South Atlantic ocean ridge and other cooperative scientific undertakings;

—Possible USAF Thunderbird visits; and

—Brazilian participation in world wide naval control of shipping CPX.

7. In the implementation of these programs, our long-term interest is improved security relations with Brazil, and to the extent future conditions permit, laying a basis for Brazilian cooperation in supporting shared security interests in the Atlantic. While we should not single out Brazil for a special security relationship, our objective is to restore cooperative relations with a new degree of mutual respect and support.

8. The mission is authorized to cooperate with appropriate Brazilian government and armed services officials to encourage and develop visits and exchange programs. FMS purchases of training and equipment are authorized, subject to arms restraints policy guidelines of PD–133 (as amplified in 77 State 207984 and 77 State 252478, the MASM [Page 568] and other policy guidance and directives). Where required, appropriate consultations with and notification of the US Congress will be made prior to any final offer. Invitations to and availability of specific training opportunities will be addressed by services in SepTels.

9. This message is for internal guidance. The USG initiatives and favorable responses to Brazilian interests are intended to establish, gradually and on the basis of step-by-step actions, the credibility of our desire to rebuild a mutually beneficial security relationship. At the same time, there remains the issue of whether we should now begin to engage appropriate Brazilian officials in a dialogue on our desire to rebuild an appropriate relationship in the security area, and the manner and timing of doing so. The Ambassador, if and when and to the extent he considers this opportune and desirable, is authorized; a) to convey to GOB in general terms US interest in fostering a mutually beneficial relationship in the security area suitable to present and prospective conditions; b) to share the nature of the actions we contemplate over the next ten months toward that objective; and c) to begin a dialogue with appropriate GOB officials on the possible nature of this new and evolving relationship.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800120-0960. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Ruser and Eisner; cleared by Bowdler, Bushnell, Eaton, Thornton, and Nimetz and in PM, S/P, L/PM, DOD/ISA, ARA/RPP, PM/SAS, H, T, ACDA, PM/ISO, PM/ISP, and HA; approved by Newsom.
  2. See Documents 163 and 167.
  3. For PD-13, see Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVI, Arms Control and Nonproliferation, Document 271. Telegram 207984 to All Diplomatic Posts, August 31, 1977, provided guidance for posts in implementing PD-13. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770314-0926) (C) Telegram 252478 to All Diplomatic Posts, October 21, 1977, provided further guidance. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770390-1146) (C)