The Unwritten Alliance: Rio-Branco and Brazilian-American Relations

By E. Bradford Burns | Go to book overview

PREFACE

BRAZIL AND the United States mutually regard each other as close friends, a relationship each has considered to be "traditional." However, the history of their diplomatic relations in the nineteenth century fails to substantiate those claims to the existence of a "traditional" friendship. Only after the proclamation of the republic in Brazil in 1889 do their relations show a uniform harmony and intimacy. To accelerate that trend became one of the principal aims of the Baron of Rio-Branco, the Minister of Foreign Relations from 1902 to 1912. It is really from his ministry that the "traditional" friendship can be dated.

Rio-Branco decided to encourage growing Brazilian-American friendship as a means of better achieving his foreign policy goals. The moral support of Washington proved to be a great aid in the successful delineation of nine thousand miles of hitherto unmarked boundaries. Furthermore, the North American blessing helped Brazil to assert its diplomatic leadership over South America and to project itself onto the world diplomatic scene. For its own part, the United States, particularly during the administration of Secretary of State Elihu Root, found Brazil to be a great help in implementing some of its policies in Latin America. As a result of the intimate cooperation between the two nations during the Rio- Branco decade, Brazil shifted its diplomatic axis from London to Washington where it has since remained.

Few serious studies have been made in either Brazil or the United States of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Even

-ix-

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