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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 02, 1985

CABLE FROM RAFAEL VAZQUEZ, ARGENTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO BRAZIL, REQUESTING MEETING WITH THE BRAZILIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    In this cable to Buenos Aires, Ambassador Vazquez reports that he requested a meeting with Minister Olavo Setúbal after General Leonidas Pires Gonçalves suggested that he would support a Brazilian nuclear weapons program. Vazquez also discusses a conversation with the Brazilian Foreign Minister's chief of staff, who told Vazquez that General Leônidas Pires refuted the reports of a Brazilian atomic bomb.
    "Cable from Rafael Vazquez, Argentinian Ambassador to Brazil, Requesting Meeting with the Brazilian Foreign Minister" September 02, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Relations and Culture (AMRECIC), Caja Brasil, h0005B. Obtained and translated by Fundação Getúlio Vargas. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117519
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    http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117519

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SECRET

                                                     Nuclear affairs/Minister’s Office/Economic/Latin American Affairs (South)

General reception number  48416

ORIGIN: BRASILIA

Date and time of reception: 02 Sept. 12:15

Date and time of treatment: 02 Sept 12:30

Cable no. 1312    BRASILIA – MOST URGENT  

For immediate knowledge of the Minister, Secretary of State Sabato and SUAL (SUR)

With reference to my cable of yesterday Sunday on declarations from General Leonidas Pires Gonçalves on manufacture of atom bomb by Brazil, early today 2nd I spoke with the Foreign Minister’s Chief of Staff Ambassador Rubens Barbosa and requested an interview with Minister Olavo Setúbal.

1) Ambassador Barbosa told me:

A. That Minister Setúbal was in São Paulo whence he would come back in the late evening. The interview request would be taken to his attention by telephone.

B. That the news had been refuted by General Leônidas Pires.

2) Nevertheless, I said that I was interested in receiving that information from Minister Setúbal.

3) The declarations that, according to "Correio Braziliense" the Minister of the Army purportedly made about such a delicate issue, together with those published to-day in the press attributing them to the President of the Senate and several parliamentarians (see my cable 1313), configure a serious picture which reflects, at a first analysis, a singular exaggeration in dealing with this question. There is no doubt that even in the case such declarations are denied (which very probably shall happen), the situation may lead to complications in the international panorama for Brazil and Argentina.

One might ask, however, whether this situation could be politically used to push forward conversations aiming at a prompt understanding at the highest level between the two countries, based on the common decision to utilize nuclear development – open between the two countries – for exclusively peaceful purposes.

4) It is however clear that at the juncture the first order of business will be to observe the denials or pressures that the highest Brazilian authorities may make about this question and what is the degree of trust they inspire.

(Signed) VAZQUEZ