Located just two blocks from Wilson, at 4632 Wisconsin Avenue, a tan building marked Brazilian Army Commission sits in between a real estate building and Satay Club, the restaurant and sushi bar. Students likely pass this mysterious establishment often on their way to Steak and Egg or Friendship Heights, but probably haven’t thought much of it.
Originally called the Military Mission, the Brazilian Army set up in Washington in order to receive and ship war materials during World War II. The mission was established in 1940 when the war was at a point of escalation, but was intended to be temporary. Eight months later, the Mission was moved to New York for better access to the harbor for importing and exporting of supplies. Increased relations between Brazil and the U.S. Government led to the Mission returning to DC, and becoming a permanent part of the Tenleytown community. After merging with the Cabinet of the Army Ministry and undergoing multiple name changes, the CEBW was given it’s current name sometime in 1984.
The commission’s purpose includes managing, reviewing, and repairing military equipment, handling cargo transactions, evaluating technology and its relevance to Brazil, regulating information relating to the Brazilian Army, and according to its website “ [to] promote the Brazilian Army and the Brazilian defense materials industry, within in the scope of the Commission, to the extent possible.” Next time you walk by this tan building with the Brazilian flag flying out front, know you’re walking by a part of Washington’s history.
PHOTO BY AVA NICELY