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January 30, 1979

Aviso no. 025/79, Response from Minister Antonio Francisco Azeredo da Silveira and General Gustavo Rego Reis

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)


Aviso no. 025/79

                                                                                 Brasilia DF, January 30 1979

Mr. Minister,


I have the honor to address Your Excellency regarding Aviso no. 028/79, Confidential, from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, on Brazilian-Iraqi demarches, on that country’s initiative, with a view to cooperation in the nuclear sector for peaceful purposes.



To His Excellency

Ambassador Antonio Francisco Azeredo da Silveira

Minister of External Relations



On this matter the General Secretariat has ascertained that:

  • bilateral relations between Brazil and Iraq are at a very good level, particularly in what regards oil trade, despites recognizing that at the moment that country has more bargaining power, because Brasil is relatively dependent from the supply of Iraqi petroleum;
  • Iraq  has a left leaning Government and keeps close relations with countries of the Socialist bloc;
  • with regard to the draft agreement handed over by the Iraqis on the occasion of their visit to NUCLEBRÁS facilities, in October 1978, a simple perusal reveals that its acceptance is not practicable, because it involves a very wide field, including uranium enrichment and reprocessing of irradiated fuel.


One must recognize, on the other hand, that Brazil has already refused to negotiate, on previous occasions, nuclear agreements with Latin American and Arab countries (Uruguay, Chile and Libya).


The conclusion of an agreement between Brazil and Iraq could therefore open a precedent with repercussions that might be difficult to circumvent.


However, despite the complex nature of the issue and the left leaning policy of the present Iraqi Government, this General Secretariat, in examining the matter, takes into account the Brazilian dependency, in the present conjuncture, from foreign petroleum supply, where Iraq has a relevant role.  


Thus, all indications are that this a very important issue and that a delay seems to be useful before taking a decision.


For this end, as a first option, a reply to the Iraqi authorities could be prepared, based on the letter already drafted by the Ministry of External Relations, presenting a Brazilian counter-proposal in which we would seek to suggest a reduction of the initial scope to encompass elementary activities, such as the training of personnel, for instance.


In such circumstances, Iraq would again have to take the initiative to decide whether it is interested in continuing demarches in the form now proposed.


On the other hand, it seems convenient to make a previous official demarche with the Federal Republic of Germany on the matter, since the contacts that have taken place between NUCLEBRÁS and KWU do not represent, formally, the position of their respective Governments.


Therefore, Mr. Minister, in view of the complexity of this matter, I suggest that the Interministerial Working Group (MRE, MME and SG/CSN), under the coordination of Itamaraty, undertake a deeper examination of it in order to propose the drafting of a Joint Information  which would later be sent to the President.


I also inform your Excellency that this General Secretariat is apprising the Ministry of Mines and Energy of the contents of this Aviso.


I avail myself of this opportunity to renew the assurances of my high esteem and consideration.


(Signed) Brigadier-General Gustavo Moraes Rego Reis

                Minister of State – Secretary General of the National Security Council         







DEM/DOP/22/664.2 (b46) (E27)                                          March 1 1979


Nuclear energy. Possibility of

cooperation Brazil-Iraq.


Mr. Minister,

I acknowledge receipt of Aviso no. 029/79 – Confidential, of last January 17, in which Your Excellency mentions the possibilities of cooeration between Brazil and Iraq in the nuclear sector and conveys a draft letter to be sent to the authorities of that country on the issue.


2.      As you already know, according to a decision by the National Security Council contained in Aviso 025/79 – Secret, of January 30 1979, the competent section of Itamaraty has requested the presence of a representative of this Ministry and of the General Secretariat of the Council  to discuss the matter. On that occasion Itamaraty’s opinion that a reply to the Iraqi authorities should be sent at a later time was conveyed to them.


3.            By 0fício no. 38/79 – Confidential, dated February 5 current, sent by Mr. Luiz Franco Ferreira, from your Ministry, to the Chief of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of Itamaraty, it was informed


To His Excellency

Dr. Shigeaki Ueki

Minister of State of Mines and Energy



that you hold the view that a letter should be sent to the Iraqi authorities according to the draft annexed to Aviso 029/79, changing only the section dealing with the beginning of negotiations, which would be left to Iraq’s decision.


4         In view of the above, I must reiterate what I already said personally to Your Excellency the last time we met:


a) the Iraqi authorities handed over the cooperation proposal in  October 1978; there would therefore be no compelling reason for a Brazilian expression of interest to be made now;


b) The Vice-President of Iraq is due to visit Brazil this coming May. Accordingly, I told the Ambassador of that country in Brasilia, and I am informing the Embassy of Brazil in Baghdad, that the matter is under examination and will be dealt with during the visit. Therefore, there is additional time to further study the issue, a delay that could be used by the Interministerial Working Group MRE-MME-CSN.


c) For the above reasons, I believe it is not convenient at the moment a new official communication from the Brazilian Government to the Iraqi Government  on the matter.


5.            I am communicating the contents of this Aviso to the Secretariat of the National Security Council.


               I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurances of my high esteem and consideration.


(Signed) Antonio Francisco Azeredo da Silveira

               Minister of State of External Relations



In separate replies regarding Iraq's overtures, both Foreign Minister Silveira and Secretary-General of the National Security Council Gustavo Rego Reis suggest that Brazil should not decline explicitly, but avoid making commitments on this issue. General Reis emphasizes Saddam Hussein’s “leftist inclinations” and his ties to the socialist camp and the extensiveness of the proposed agreement. He notes that Brazil had already rejected proposals by Uruguay, Chile and Libya. Silveira merely requested additional time to study the proposal.

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CPDOC Archives, PNB pn a 1978.07.13 pp. 28-32. Obtained and translated by Fundação Getúlio Vargas.


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