Cablegate: Brazil Military Exercises, Diplomatic Notes
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000815
STATE ALSO FOR WHA/BSC:MMATERA, DEFENSE ALSO FOR OSD:LYOUNG, SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD:DJOHNSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2015
TAGS: MARR MOPS MASS BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL MILITARY EXERCISES, DIPLOMATIC NOTES Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Philip Chicola, reason 1.4 d.
1. This message was coordinated with DAO, MLO, and POL.
2. (C) Over the next few months, Brazil will host a number of military exercises, including PKO South and Patriot Angel SAR. While the GOB has provided its usual written assurances concerning protections for US personnel participating in these exercises, post understands Department of State and Department of Defense want to standardize the protections offered. We should note that in the decades that the US and Brazil have been collaborating on military exercises, the GOB has always respected all norms and immunities concerning our personnel involved in those exercises -- and we are unaware of any incidents affecting US personnel that the GOB did not promptly resolve to our benefit. We understand Washington concern with the lack of a SOFA with Brazil. While the GOB has told us that it will not sign a SOFA, it has also affirmed it would accord to the maximum extent of its laws all necessary privileges to our personnel in Brazil on military exercises.
3. (SBU) For Washington guidance, mission offers following comments on draft Brazil SOFA: Each military exercise should be addressed individually with a separate dipnote. We are concerned that Brazil will interpret a group dipnote as a backdoor SOFA and will reject it. Until now all US personnel, including military, entering Brazil use passports with valid visas, except those on port visits who are on limited duration liberty. We do not believe that Brazil will allow personnel entry on military ID or military orders. Brazil already recognizes US drivers licenses and allows rental of vehicles for all personnel, including military. Although there is no need to stipulate such a requirement for these exercises, the GOB likely will not object to its inclusion in a dipnote. Brazil already allows US military personnel to wear uniforms. We know of no Brazilian law that prevents this. US military personnel in country on exercises wear uniforms all the time. Brazil does not authorize the importation or carrying of weapons. For the exercises at hand, this issue is irrelevant as it has been for all military exercises held on Brazilian territory for many years since they do not involve any activities involving weapons. Because the right to carry firearms would require Brazilian Congressional approval, this issue is a real exercise killer. Brazil already allows duty free and inspection free importation of all equipment required for military exercises, through all entry points including commercial airports. To date, this has not been an issue with Brazil. Personal effects and baggage are treated the same as above and enter free of inspection and duties. Brazil already allows removal or local disposal of all US movable property and supplies, including personal effects, free of export duties, taxes or other charges. US military aircraft landing at Brazilian military bases are not charged any landing fees, etc. US military aircraft utilizing civilian airfields pay reasonable charges. This has been common practice for decades. The US military has never imported vehicles into Brazil for exercise support. All vehicles, if required, are locally contracted. The listed exercises do not require importation of US military vehicles. While the GOB may have no problem with this clause, we do not want to put existing favorable treatment in jeopardy. The recognition or acceptance of US professional licenses for the Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) rests with the Brazilian military in internal GOB coordination as a precondition to the exercise. While there is no need to include such a clause within the MEDRETE note, the GOB will likely not object to its inclusion. It is not a relevant issue to the other exercises. Use of radio communications and frequencies is handled on a case-by-case basis with both militaries during the exercise planning/survey phase. If properly worded, the GOB will not likely object. However, its inclusion could delay things as the Foreign Ministry seeks to consult with technical experts. We believe it is not relevant to the upcoming exercises. US military planners already utilize local contractors with Embassy support. The GOB will not receive well a demand that it accept full responsibility on all claims. Brazil expects that the USG will pay reasonable costs for any damages sustained in an exercise, including injury or death. To date, this has not been an issue. Nor do we anticipate it will become an issue during the upcoming exercises. Heavy equipment that could cause infrastructure damages is not a component of any of the exercises. Brazil already accords de facto A&T status for US personnel participating in military exercises.