Saturday, December 22, 2007

Papel dos EUA na contra-revolução militar de 64

Papel dos EUA na contra-revolução militar de 64



Audio tape: President Johnson urged taking "every step that we can" to
support overthrow of Joao Goulart

U.S. Ambassador Requested Pre-positioned Armaments to aid Golpistas;
Acknowledged covert operations backing street demonstrations, civic
forces and resistance groups

Edited by Peter Kornbluh / 202 994-7116

Washington D.C., 31 March 2004 - "I think we ought to take
every step that we can, be prepared to do everything that we need to
do," President Johnson instructed his aides regarding preparations for
a coup in Brazil on March 31, 1964. On the 40th anniversary of the
military putsch, the National Security Archive today posted recently
declassified documents on U.S. policy deliberations and operations
leading up to the overthrow of the Goulart government on April 1,
1964. The documents reveal new details on U.S. readiness to back the
coup forces.

The Archive's posting includes a declassified audio tape of
Lyndon Johnson being briefed by phone at his Texas ranch, as the
Brazilian military mobilized against Goulart. "I'd put everybody that
had any imagination or ingenuity…[CIA Director John] McCone…[Secretary
of Defense Robert] McNamara" on making sure the coup went forward,
Johnson is heard to instruct undersecretary of State George Ball. "We
just can't take this one," the tape records LBJ's opinion. "I'd get
right on top of it and stick my neck out a little."

Among the documents are Top Secret cables sent by U.S.
Ambassador Lincoln Gordon who forcefully pressed Washington for direct
involvement in supporting coup plotters led by Army Chief of Staff
General Humberto Castello Branco. "If our influence is to be brought
to bear to help avert a major disaster here-which might make Brazil
the China of the 1960s-this is where both I and all my senior advisors
believe our support should be placed," Gordon wrote to high State
Department, White House and CIA officials on March 27, 1964.

To assure the success of the coup, Gordon recommended "that
measures be taken soonest to prepare for a clandestine delivery of
arms of non-US origin, to be made available to Castello Branco
supporters in Sao Paulo." In a subsequent cable, declassified just
last month, Gordon suggested that these weapons be "pre-positioned
prior any outbreak of violence," to be used by paramilitary units and
"friendly military against hostile military if necessary." To conceal
the U.S. role, Gordon recommended the arms be delivered via "unmarked
submarine to be off-loaded at night in isolated shore spots in state
of Sao Paulo south of Santos."

Gordon's cables also confirm CIA covert measures "to help
strengthen resistance forces" in Brazil. These included "covert
support for pro-democracy street rallies…and encouragement [of]
democratic and anti-communist sentiment in Congress, armed forces,
friendly labor and student groups, church, and business." Four days
before the coup, Gordon informed Washington that "we may be requesting
modest supplementary funds for other covert action programs in the
near future." He also requested that the U.S. send tankers carrying
"POL"-petroleum, oil and lubricants-to facilitate the logistical
operations of the military coup plotters, and deploy a naval task
force to intimidate Goulart's backers and be in position to intervene
militarily if fighting became protracted.

Although the CIA is widely known to have been involved in
covert action against Goulart leading up to the coup, its operational
files on intervention in Brazil remain classified-to the consternation
of historians. Archive analyst Peter Kornbluh called on the Agency to
"lift the veil of secrecy off one of the most important episodes of
U.S. intervention in the history of Latin America" by completely
declassifying the record of CIA operations in Brazil. Both the Clinton
and Bush administrations conducted significant declassifications on
the military regimes in Chile and Argentina, he noted.
"Declassification of the historical record on the 1964 coup and the
military regimes that followed would advance U.S. interests in
strengthening the cause of democracy and human rights in Brazil, and
in the rest of Latin America," Kornbluh said.

On March 31, the documents show, Gordon received a secret
telegram from Secretary of State Dean Rusk stating that the
Administration had decided to immediately mobilize a naval task force
to take up position off the coast of Brazil; dispatch U.S. Navy
tankers "bearing POL" from Aruba; and assemble an airlift of 110 tons
of ammunition and other equipment including "CS agent"-a special gas
for mob control. During an emergency White House meeting on April 1,
according to a CIA memorandum of conversation, Secretary of Defense
Robert McNamara told President Johnson that the task force had already
set sail, and an Esso tanker with motor and aviation gasoline would
soon be in the vicinity of Santos. An ammunition airlift, he reported,
was being readied in New Jersey and could be sent to Brazil within 16

Such U.S. military support for the military coup proved
unnecessary; Castello Branco's forces succeeded in overthrowing
Goulart far faster and with much less armed resistance then U.S.
policy makers anticipated. On April 2, CIA agents in Brazil cabled
that "Joao Goulart, deposed president of Brazil, left Porto Alegre
about 1pm local time for Montevideo."

The documents and cables refer to the coup forces as "the
democratic rebellion." After General Castello Branco's takeover, the
military ruled Brazil until 1985.
Note: Documents are in PDF format. You will need to download
and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

Hear/Read the Documents

l) White House Audio Tape, President Lyndon B. Johnson
discussing the impending coup in Brazil with Undersecretary of State
George Ball, March 31, 1964

This audio clip is available in several formats:
Windows Media Audio - High bandwidth (7.11 MB)
Windows Media Audio - Low bandwidth (3.57 MB)
MP3 - (4.7 MB)

In this 5:08 minute White House tape obtained from the
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, President Johnson is recorded speaking
on the phone from his Texas ranch with Undersecretary of State George
Ball and Assistant Secretary for Latin America, Thomas Mann. Ball
briefs Johnson on that status of military moves in Brazil to overthrow
the government of Joao Goulart who U.S. officials view as a leftist
closely associated with the Brazilian Communist Party. Johnson gives
Ball the green light to actively support the coup if U.S. backing is
needed. "I think we ought to take every step that we can, be prepared
to do everything that we need to do" he orders. In an apparent
reference to Goulart, Johnson states "we just can't take this one."
"I'd get right on top of it and stick my neck out a little," he
instructs Ball.

2) State Department, Top Secret Cable from Rio De Janiero,
March 27, 1964

Ambassador Lincoln Gordon wrote this lengthy, five part,
cable to the highest national security officers of the U.S.
government, including CIA director John McCone and the Secretaries of
Defense and State, Robert McNamara and Dean Rusk. He provides an
assessment that President Goulart is working with the Brazilian
Communist Party to "seize dictatorial power" and urges the U.S. to
support the forces of General Castello Branco. Gordon recommends "a
clandestine delivery of arms" for Branco's supporters as well as a
shipment of gas and oil to help the coup forces succeed and suggests
such support will be supplemented by CIA covert operations. He also
urges the administration to "prepare without delay against the
contingency of needed overt intervention at a second stage."

3) State Department, Top Secret Cable from Amb. Lincoln
Gordon, March 29, 1964

Ambassador Gordon updates high U.S. officials on the
deterioration of the situation in Brazil. In this cable, declassified
on February 24, 2004 by the LBJ Presidential Library, he reiterates
the "manifold" need to have a secret shipment of weapons
"pre-positioned prior any outbreak of violence" to be "used by
paramilitary units working with Democratic Military groups" and
recommends a public statement by the administration "to reassure the
large numbers of democrats in Brazil that we are not indifferent to
the danger of a Communist revolution here."

4) CIA, Intelligence Information Cable on "Plans of
Revolutionary Plotters in Minas Gerias," March 30, 1964

The CIA station in Brazil transmitted this field report
from intelligence sources in Belo Horizonte that bluntly stated "a
revolution by anti-Goulart forces will definitely get under way this
week, probably in the next few days. The cable transmits intelligence
on military plans to "march toward Rio." The "revolution," the
intelligence source predicted, "will not be resolved quickly and will
be bloody."

5) State Department, Secret Cable to Amb. Lincoln Gordon in
Rio, March 31, 1964

Secretary of State Dean Rusk sends Gordon a list of the
White House decisions "taken in order [to] be in a position to render
assistance at appropriate time to anti-Goulart forces if it is decided
this should be done." The decisions include sending US naval tankers
loaded with petroleum, oil and lubricants from Aruba to Santos,
Brazil; assembling 110 tons of ammunition and other equipment for
pro-coup forces; and dispatching a naval brigade including an aircraft
carrier, several destroyers and escorts to conduct be positioned off
the coast of Brazil. Several hours later, a second cable is sent
amending the number of ships, and dates they will be arriving off the

6) CIA, Secret Memorandum of Conversation on "Meeting at the
White House 1 April 1964 Subject-Brazil," April 1, 1964

This memorandum of conversation records a high level
meeting, held in the White House, between President Johnson and his
top national security aides on Brazil. CIA deputy chief of Western
Hemisphere operations, Desmond Fitzgerald recorded the briefing given
to Johnson and the discussion on the progress of the coup. Defense
Secretary reported on the movements of the naval task force sailing
towad Brazil, and the arms and ammunition being assembled in New
Jersey to resupply the coup plotters if necessary.

7) CIA, Intelligence Information Cable on "Departure of
Goulart from Porto Alegre for Montevideo," April 2, 1964

The CIA station in Brazil reports that the deposed
president, Joao Goulart, left Brazil for exile in Uruguay at l pm, on
April 2. His departure marks the success of the military coup in Brazil.

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