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Remarks and Toasts at a Dinner in Honor of President Dutra of Brazil

May 18, 1949

I am going to vary the usual procedure a little bit tonight.

I am going to ask the Vice President of the United States, in his capacity as President of the Senate, to say a word of welcome to the head of our great sister state in South America, the President of Brazil.

If the Vice President will say a word, I will appreciate it.

Vice President Barkley: Mr. President-Mr. President--distinguished guests from the Americas:

I am very highly honored by the President to be asked to speak a word of welcome to our distinguished guests from Brazil. I know of no task which could be assigned to me by my Commander in Chief that I would discharge with greater pleasure than that which he has given to me this evening.

The friendship which has existed between the Republic of Brazil and the Republic of the United States is of long standing, and traditional. It is based upon mutual respect, mutual admiration, and mutual understanding of the problems that face both countries, and the mission of both countries in a peaceful world, that no distinction of language could in any respect obliterate.

We in the United States, Mr. President, have been greatly encouraged and inspired by the leadership of your country in all movements for the preservation and the fortification of democracy in America, and by example, to extension throughout the world. In the field of culture, in the devotion which your people and ours have to the arts and sciences, to all the elements of life that raise the standard of humanity, to the extension of democracy and enjoyment of self-government, and that mutual accord and cooperation which is so essential in these days of frustration and chaos, we welcome a partner in the Americas with standing and the ability and the character not only of the Brazilian Government, but of the Brazilian people themselves.

It is in that spirit, Mr. President, that not only the President of the United States, and the Government of the United States, and the representatives of the people in the Congress of the United States, but the whole people of our country welcome you as an honored and distinguished guest, worthy of every courtesy and every consideration, and worthy of emulation in many of the fields of political economy and political discourse, and the administration of government for ourselves and for the entire world.

May I wish for you and for your official family the greatest possible enjoyment while in our midst, that you may prolong your visit beyond your expectations, and that your visit may, as it certainly will, re-knit and strengthen the bonds of friendship which have always existed between your country and ours.

Mr. President, may I thank you for giving me the honor of speaking these words in honor of our guest.

THE PRESIDENT, Now, may I request the Speaker of the House of Representatives to say a word of welcome, on behalf of the House, to our distinguished guest, His Excellency the President of Brazil.

Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn: Mr. president of the United States of North America, and Mr. President of Brazil:

I thought that tomorrow when I present the President of Brazil to the Joint Session of the Congress that I would say a word; but I do want to endorse everything that the Vice President of the United States has said with reference to our neighbor to the south, to a great and a proud people, and we welcome their First Representative to the United States of America.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Government of the United States is divided into three sections. You have heard from the representatives of the people. We have a representative of the courts of justice here tonight, who is supposed not only to represent justice but is also supposed to represent brains and learning.

The Chief Justice of the United States, would you say a word of welcome.

Chief Justice Vinson: Mr. President, Mr. President of Brazil:

The President of the United States, as usual, takes in a lot of territory. But it is a pleasing moment to speak a word from the judiciary. And it is peculiarly pleasing to meet again tonight an old friend, a coworker in days when I was working in the executive branch of the Government, de Sousa Costa. We labored together, Mr. President, at Bretton Woods 5 years ago, and that work with him and other representatives of our brothers from the south demonstrated to me what proper understanding can do for not only our hemisphere but for the world.

Our countries for decades from the beginning have been friendly nations. The visit of our President to your country, and your visit to our country can do nothing but promote a better understanding between our countries and our peoples, a solidarity that is needed by your country and by our country and the world.

One would be blind if they could not observe dark clouds in the world. Even the Chief Justice of the United States can see those dark clouds. And it is the understanding, the cooperation, meeting the issues shoulder to shoulder, that can come from countries like yours and countries like ours, in order that we may save and preserve the kind of world that you and we want to live in.

THE PRESIDENT. Now, Mr. President, on behalf of the Government and the people of the United States, I would like, while drinking a toast to you here, to present to you a special medal--solid gold--which has been cast in your honor. This is the only one like it in the world, and the only one like it that will be made.

On behalf of the people of the United States, I present to you this medal, in honor of your visit to the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen, the health of the President of Brazil.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a state dinner held in honor of President Dutra at the Carlton Hotel in Washington. President Dutra requested that Raul de Fernandes, Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, offer a response. Mr. de Fernandes spoke the first paragraph in English and the rest through an interpreter. His remarks follow:

"Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen:

"My English is too poor to deliver a speech to a very high society. I am obliged to take this opportunity, therefore, to have it translated into English-in good English--some words I am telling you in Portuguese.

"Mr. President, I would like to fulfill the most pleasant task which has been conferred upon me by President Dutra by expressing to you all our gratitude for the very kind words you and the other representatives of the legislative and judiciary branches have addressed to the Highest Magistrate of my country, and to express thanks on this occasion for what you have said to the First Magistrate of my country.

"He recalls the famous words recalled, appreciated, and admired by all Americans. In the course of the First World War, at the time when the American Expeditionary Force set forth to defend freedom in the world, General Pershing said before the tomb of LaFayette those famous words--I do not know whether it was in French or English, the reporters reported variously: 'LaFayette we are here.'

"Brazil said something similar to the United States during the First Great War. You recall that after we had lived for four centuries as a colony, we finally shook off the yoke of European power and proclaimed our independence. The United States, first among all nations, recognized our independence. A century later, the United States found itself involved in a war in which the destiny of the world and the destiny of America was involved. Brazil at this dark juncture, in a proclamation to all nations, stated that she could not remain indifferent in a war in which the United States was involved, that she judged herself bound in this, and set forth its position to the whole world.

"This, one century later, was the answer of the Brazilian people and government to the noble, admirable, and grand gesture of the United States towards new-born Brazilian independence, and the new-born Brazilian state. The bonds which have united us have their roots so deep in feeling, in economy, and in history, that they are now, as they have always been, indestructible.

"Especially after Brazil changed the form of her political institutions to a new form, based on the work of the Founders of American freedom, particularly since then, the American political thought and ideas have impregnated the whole of Brazilian life.

"I do not know if I am telling the illustrious Chief Justice something with which he is not already familiar, when I tell him that the magnificent decisions of the great Marshall are known throughout Brazil from the lowest schools of law to the highest tribunals of the land.

"We have learned from the inspiration of your experience the finest sentiments inspired by generosity which you have shown to us.

"I have, in the course of my long career, worked with, or seen work under my eyes, some of the most outstanding of your men. I have worked with the great Elihu Root in The Hague in setting forth the foundations of the International Court of Justice, and also with that great, generous and much admired statesman, Charles Evans Hughes, in the conference at Hubaria.

"More recently, I have had occasion to see in Rio and in Paris the skill and the ability of Senators Connally and Vandenberg, who have shown to us what possibilities there exist in the cooperation of parties.

"President Dutra, inspired by this example has, in Brazil, since the time he became President, adopted this plan; and he has exercised the privilege, which I do not know if it can be fitted to other countries, of exercising this cooperation not only in the field of external politics but in the field of internal policy as well.

"I think these few words I have spoken are the sentiments that fill the Brazilian soul, and that express that feeling of deep understanding, comprehension, and admiration; and it is with pleasure that in the name of President Dutra I raise my glass in honor and in homage to the President of the United States!"

In the course of his remarks Chief Justice Vinson referred to Arthur de Sousa Costa, Brazilian Minister of Finance from 1934 through 1945.

Harry S Truman, Remarks and Toasts at a Dinner in Honor of President Dutra of Brazil Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/229427

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