Historical Content Note: The following material is reprinted from publications from throughout Fermilab's history. It should be read in its original historical context.

A Visit to Fermilab by the President of Brazil

Brazil's President Jose Sarney (left) and Fermilab Director John Peoples in the Main Accelerator Control Room.

On Wednesday, 27, 1989 September, Fermilab was honored by its first visit of a Head of State, President Jose Sarney of Brazil. The President had been in New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and came to Fermilab for a special trip before flying back to Brazil. The President had previous knowledge of Fermilab because of his acquaintance with some of the Brazilian physicists working on experiments at the Laboratory.

The strong presence here by Brazilians is a result of the program of cooperation with Latin American institutions initiated a decade ago by then Director Leon Lederman. Starting with four Brazilian physicists in 1984, by 1990 this will have grown to about 30 physicists and engineers, from five institutions in Brazil, working on two fixed-target experiments (E-761 and E-791), and on several engineering projects including the Advanced Computer Program.

Presidential visits are not undertaken lightly, by either the visitor or the visitees. This one was initiated in early August in conversations between Laboratory staff and the senior Brazilian physicist here, Professor Alberto Santoro of Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Fisicas (CBPF) of Rio de Janeiro, and his colleague, Dr. Isaias Costa, both of whom work on E-791 in the Tagged Photon Laboratory. These discussions quickly escalated, and an invitation to the President was subsequently issued by the U.S. Secretary of Energy. There then began a myriad of meetings and phone conversations with perople whose titled (unfamiliar to Fermilab!) included Ambassador, Minister of Protocol, etc., and including many security personnel from both the U.S. and Brazil. On the Fermilab side, coordination for the visit was by Jeff Appel (Computing and co-spokesperson for E-791) and Roy Rubinstein (Director's Office).

A President does not travel alone! On September 27, after a greeting at O'Hare airport by Jeff Appel, Deputy Energy Secretary Henson W. Moore, and other Department of Energy officials, a motorcade of some 14 vehicles, containing close to 50 people together with about 20 Brazilian press set off for Fermilab, arriving at 11:20 a.m. to be met on the Wilson Hall steps by Fermilab Director John Peoples and other senior Laboratory and DOE staff. A sizeable number of U.S. and Brazilian press were present then and at other pre-arranged opportunities throughout the day.

After a welcome to the Laboratory by Deputy Secretary Moore, a briefing on Fermilab and its programs was given in the 1-West conference room by John Peoples, followed by a report on the Lab's Latin American activities by Leon Lederman. After a luncheon on the 15th floor, a tour of the Laboratory was arranged for the President, while the press and some members of his team stayed in 1-West to hear more reports about the Laboratory and its activities. The President visited E-791 in the Tagged Photon Laboratory, the Collider Detector at Fermilab, the Antiproton Source, the Accelerator Control Room, and Neutron Therapy. There followed a 3/4-hour private meeting with the Brazilian scientists currently at the Lab, arranged by Alberto Santoro, and then a short closing meeting with John Peoples, together with senior Lab and DOE staff; at 5:15 p.m. the motorcade left for O'Hare and thence to Brazil.

The whole visit went very smoothly, due to the hard work of a large number of Fermilab people. One person always in the midst of the action was Gary Verseput, Chief of Fermilab Security. Afterwards he said, "This was a unique opportunity to coordinate security operations with three federal agencies and the security services of Brazil, using at least two languages. Everyone here at the Lab cooperated with our security requirements in every way, and made it easy to coordinate the visit."

Among others who took a large role were Mary Cullen, Barbara Lach, Bob Kephart, Bob Mau, Arlene Lennox, Stan Orr, Peggy McAuliff, Pete Loomis, Joe Lach, and Peter Cooper. Of the efforts by these and others, John Peoples commented "a fantastic job was done by the Laboratory staff - their efforts made this a truly memorable occasion. This was our first visit by a Head of State, and we trust that it will only be the first of many."