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Exchange of Messages With the President of Brazil.

September 05, 1964

[ Released September 5, 1964• Dated August 25, 1964 ]

Dear Mr. President:

I send my very warm thanks for your message of solidarity on the attacks by North Vietnam on United States naval vessels. We found in the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and again in the Foreign Ministers meeting at Washington in July 1964, that our adversaries take heed when the free world stands solidly together and refuses to be intimidated by wanton aggression or threats of aggression. I especially welcome the renewed strength which Brazil brings to the cause of peace and allied unity. Brazil has a proud tradition of service in two world wars and in its current contributions to the peace efforts of the United Nations in Gaza and the Congo. Your timely and friendly letter is a reaffirmation of that tradition.

I share your conviction that Brazil and the United States are bound together in a common desire for peace. We want no wider war, as I have said repeatedly. But as you suggest, there comes a point at which countries such as the United States and Brazil, firmly committed to the peaceful solution of problems, must exercise their basic right of self-defense.

The struggle for freedom in South Vietnam is closely related to the struggle for freedom everywhere. We face not only the armed struggle in the rice paddies of South Vietnam, but also--as you say in your recent telegram on the anniversary of Punta del Este--the "struggle of the Peoples" for a future that will enable man "to achieve his just aspirations in a climate of freedom."

We are joined in that struggle in the Alliance for Progress. The Charter of Punta del Este was not only a commitment, but a challenge to achieve that historic mission.

We in the United States have been heartened-and I believe the whole Hemisphere looks to the future with more optimism-because of the vigorous manner in which your government has accepted this challenge. We have followed with great interest the initial efforts of your government to reverse the serious economic deterioration which confronted you when you took office, and to step firmly forward on the road to economic prosperity and well-being. We know that decisive action in the economic life of Brazil can and must come only from the Brazilian government and people. But I want to assure you, as you press forward on constructive programs for the welfare of Brazil, that my country stands ready to give its sincere support through the Alliance for Progress.

The fraternal commitment which we feel toward Brazil--the sense of responsibility which flows from the policy of the good neighbor--is but a part of the larger common cause which we share with all of the American Republics and with our allies throughout the world. I know, from your speech to the graduates of the Brazilian foreign service academy, that you feel that same commitment. You spoke of Brazil's commitment to the Western democratic system, its support of free enterprise and the orderly encouragement of private capital, its tradition of inter-American solidarity, and of your confidence that our two nations "can join their economic and commercial interests on a plane of honorable policy and friendly reciprocity."

Brazil and the United States, I believe, have entered a new era of understanding and comprehension. The peoples of our two great countries understand that fact; history would not forgive us if we did not understand it and act upon it. In the months and years ahead, I look forward to an ever closer relationship between our countries: to cooperation for the economic and social benefit of our peoples; and to the fulfillment of our solemn commitments to freedom and peace.



[His Excellency Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, President of the Republic of the United States of Brazil]

Note: President Branco's letter, dated August 11, 1964, follows:

My dear Mr. President:

I have received from your Ambassador, Your Excellency's message on the armed attacks by North Viet-Nam against warships of the United States on the high seas. Your Excellency is right in believing that I share your deep concern in view of this attack. I consider this resort to force as being contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter and I deem it to fully justify the exercise of the right of self-defense as was done by the United States of America.

I have instructed the Brazilian representative to the Security Council to act there in accordance with the above indications and to express, furthermore, our hope that the North Viet-Namese authorities will modify their attitude and that all governments will endeavor to prevent the aggravation of tensions in Southeast Asia.

In expressing to Your Excellency my solidarity, I do so with the certainty that Brazil and the United States are bound together in the same desire for peace and in the same feeling of repulsion for violent solutions to international disputes.

With the assurance of my high regard and esteem,

Lyndon B. Johnson, Exchange of Messages With the President of Brazil. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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