2-362 Memorandum for General Arnold, February 6, 1947

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 6, 1947

Memorandum for General Arnold

February 6, 1947 [Washington, D.C.]

Mr. Rockefeller called to see me regarding my letter to him of February 1st, of which a copy was sent to you. He was much pleased with the letter.1

He proposes the creation of a board of four individuals, one from the Army, with a working secretary, who will prepare the data to the propositions for the board to consider. The secretary to be, in effect, an off-shoot of the Civil Aeronautics Board in order that he might have the advantage of their office set-up. Mr. Rockefeller is very anxious that I should be on the board. I gave a tentative agreement, with the understanding that I have an alternate. Frankly he wants me on the board because of its relation to release of airplanes for use in South America. I explained exactly what our situation was in regard to this.

I do not want to involve you or Brett in this because you are very busy, but it occurred to me that the most practicable method would be for me to have as an alternate, —somebody like Griffiss, who is in close touch with you and otherwise with the Air Service.2

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Nelson A. Rockefeller was the president’s coordinator of commercial and cultural relations with the American Republics. He supported the expansion of the Civil Aeronautics Board’s authority so that it could direct an effective program to supplant Axis-controlled airlines by United States or locally owned airlines operating in Latin America. Arnold, the author of Marshall’s February 1 letter, endorsed Rockefeller’s proposal. Arnold believed that German-controlled airlines provided that nation with a means for spreading propaganda, for communication with agents and fifth column movements, and for familiarizing German soldiers with Latin America. These airlines could provide bases for an invasion and, therefore, were a threat to United States security. He also agreed that the Civil Aeronautics Board was the proper institution to undertake this proposal. He supported the creation of a committee consisting of Rockefeller and representatives of that board and of the State and War departments. (Conn and Fairchild, Framework of Hemisphere Defense, p. 243; Marshall to Rockefeller, February 1, 1941, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 9136-61].)

2. Major General George H. Brett had been the acting chief of the Air Corps since October 1940. Major General Henry H. Arnold, who retained the title of chief of the Air Corps, assumed the duties of deputy chief of staff for air in October 1940. On this situation, see Memorandum for the Secretary of War, May 16, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-456 [2: 508-10]. Major Townsend Griffiss (U.S.M.A., 1922) served in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps as an aide to the secretary of war.

Rockefeller’s proposal was not approved. Instead, the Defense Supplies Corporation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation instituted the American Republics Aviation Division to provide funds, skilled technicians, and aircraft to United States and locally owned airlines operating in Latin America. (Conn and Fairchild, Framework of Hemisphere Defense, p. 244.)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 408-409,

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 2-362

Rights: Public Information