Melo Franco, Afonso Arinos de (1905–1990)

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Melo Franco, Afonso Arinos de (1905–1990)

Afonso Arinos de Melo Franco (b. 27 November 1905; d. 27 August 1990), Brazilian constitutional lawyer, politician, writer, and diplomat. The son of diplomat Afrânio de Melo Franco, Afonso Arinos was born into a distinguished family of the state of Minas Gerais. A lawyer, he initially devoted himself to legal and historical writing, leaving politics to his father and brother, Virgílio Martins de Melo Franco. At the death of his father in 1943, Afonso Arinos joined the Friends of America to continue his father's opposition to the Estado Novo. He advocated economic and political liberalism and, in 1945, helped found the União Democrática Nacional (UDN), the opposition party to Getúlio Vargas and later Juscelino Kubitschek. He served as a federal deputy (1947–1959), a senator (1959–1961), and as minister of foreign relations under Jânio Quadros (1961) and, briefly, João Goulart (1962). Melo Franco was an architect of Brazil's increasingly independent foreign policy vis-à-vis the United States. Under Quadros, he declined to support U.S. pressure on Cuba, advocated seating the People's Republic of China in the United Nations, and sought to restore diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union. However, as Goulart allied with the left, Melo Franco supported the president's overthrow. Only after the military indicated its intention of staying in power did Melo Franco oppose the regime, leading the congressional debate against the Constitution of 1967. When it passed, stripping the Congress of its powers, Melo Franco declined to run again for office, returning to academia (his works on history and law total nearly forty) until asked by President José Sarney in 1985 to organize the drafting of a new, democratic constitution. He later served again as a senator.

See alsoBrazil, Political Parties: National Democratic Union of Brazil (UDN) .


Israel Beloch and Alzira Alves De Abreu, eds., Dicionário Histórico-Biográfico Brasileiro, 1930–1983 (1984).

Peter Flynn, Brazil: A Political Analysis (1978).

Thomas E. Skidmore, Politics in Brazil, 1930–1964: An Experiment in Democracy (1967).

Thomas E. Skidmore, The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964–1985 (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Arinos Filho, Afonso. Diplomacia independente: Um legado de Afonso Arinos. São Paulo, Brazil: Paz e Terra, 2001.

Lattman-Weltman, Fernando. A política domesticada: Afonso Arinos e o colapso da democracia em 1964. Rio de Janeiro: FGV Editora, 2005.

                                    Elizabeth A. Cobbs

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Melo Franco, Afonso Arinos de (1905–1990)

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