The Ambassador in Brazil (Berle) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 20—2:28 a.m.]
2275. I have reviewed with General Wooten,69 Theater Commander, Colonel Blaine70 of War Department, and with Naval Attaché, Captain [Page 641] Cooke, situation created by change of policy with respect to lend-lease. If our information is correct, present policy cuts off immediately all lend-lease projects except those directly connected with war against Jap and thus apparently automatically terminates all lend-lease operations in progress here. Object of this telegram is to request Department immediately to consult with War and Navy Departments and secure such arrangements as may be needed to complete existing projects along lines hereafter discussed; and to make provision for certain other commitments which heretofore have been carried out through lend-lease but which nevertheless remain as commitments between United States and Brazil.
First, Admiral Ingram71 announced general rollup policy of Navy and turn over of Navy equipment here to Brazil. This equipment is in process of being transferred by lend-lease, with exception, of course, of equipment which Navy is transporting to United States. This equipment has been inventoried, offered to Brazil, much of it has been accepted by Brazil, and paper work is now going forward. Arrangements should be made to complete this transaction. Equipment in fact will not be transported to United States nor will Navy personnel be maintained to guard it, so failure to make arrangements could only result in abandonment or sacrifice, or needless retention of personnel for custody. Army here states it cannot use the remaining material.
Second, bulk of Brazilian Expeditionary Force is still in Europe, and is being supplied and moved on lend-lease account. Army transport General Meighs arrived yesterday morning with 5,300 Brazilian troops aboard moving by lend-lease and it can hardly be assumed that last few days of her voyage were illegal. Anyhow she is here and so are the troops and there is nothing that can be done about it. But 80% of Brazilian Expeditionary Force is still in Europe and continues to need supplies and transport home and standing arrangements cannot merely be canceled without more [sic]. Arrangements must be made in this connection preferably by classifying operation as directly connected with war against Jap or by appropriate exception or extension to order, and Department should keep in mind extreme administrative difficulties occasioned by any change in method of handling commitment, not least of which would be diplomatic embarrassment of breaking an outstanding promise.
Third, over 100 Brazilian Expeditionary Force wounded, mainly severe amputating cases, are presently being hospitalized in United States by United States Army under lend-lease. Arrangements must be made not to throw these men on the street. Obviously this is not going to be done but basis must be worked out and stated.[Page 642]
Fourth, under staff arrangements between Brazilian and United States Armies considerable number of Brazilian personnel are scheduled and en route to go to United States for training and return. Transport is arranged through lend-lease, and this transport should likewise be arranged for.
Fifth, Brazilian Navy is presently providing air sea rescue service for troop transport under Green plan,72 in this case Brazil providing service on reverse lend-lease. Staff arrangements call for continuance of this service. Arrangements should be made about this; possibly it might be classified as project directly connected with Jap war in view of redeployment. We are under commitment to provide continued flow of spare parts. Thus, air officers estimate failure of flow of spare parts would result in grounding Brazilian Air Force in relatively short time.
Sixth, commitments already entered into to provide material for certain Brazilian military schools where American instructors are already assigned and working, and in line with staff conversations this equipment has been urgently requested.
The foregoing is not in any respect complete list of problems presented, but designed to indicate that wholesale cut-off without reference to cases produces grave and unforeseen results.
Department [sic] has in mind that much of equipment though listed as lend-lease is paid for in cash by Brazil.
Much of equipment being supplied will presently be declared surplus by Army and Navy, and immediately thrown on market. If past experience is guide, prices received for it will probably be less than percentage of their value presently being paid by Brazil under lend-lease, so that on straight dollars and cents continued flow of already manufactured articles with resulting return through current payment by Brazil is likely to be most practicable method of liquidation. Possibly mere conversion of existing lend-lease arrangements into surplus disposal arrangement on same terms might solve at least part of difficulty.
It is hoped Department will promptly review entire situation with appropriate agencies making adjustments, exceptions, or arrangements to cover existing commitments. Effect of complete cut-off leaving everything in mid-air here will create extremely serious situation. Understood [sic] Brazilian Foreign Minister73 recently mentioned his concern about it to me. Generals Orde, Wooten, and Kroner, Colonels Blaine and Head, and Captain Cooke USN, agreed.
- Maj. Gen. Ralph H. Wooten, Commanding General United States Army Forces, South Atlantic.↩
- Presumably Col. D. Blaine, American Theater Section, Operations Division.↩
- Adm. Jonas H. Ingram, Commander of the Atlantic Fleet.↩
- The Green Project was a term applied to the operation of returning military personnel, eligible for discharge, to the United States.↩
- Pedro Leão Velloso.↩