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Memorandum for General Handy,
General Arnold, General Bissell
December 28, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Mr. Rockefeller saw me today regarding Latin-American affairs.1
First, he wishes to secure an approved policy outlining the desired objectives in Latin-America. This of course will include the military objectives relating to Air and other matters.
Next, he brought up the question of coordinated relations and suggested the possibility of having detailed in his office an officer of the Army to keep him, Mr. Rockefeller, in the closest touch with the War Department ideas and concerns in Latin-America, as well as to keep the War Department informed of Mr. Rockefeller’s point of view. I suggested that it probably would be best to give the officer now in G-2 responsible for Latin-American affairs, or in OPD, I don’t know which, a desk in Mr. Rockefeller’s office alongside that of the principal civil individual who would be aware of the various complications and desires. Our man to remain a member of his War Department General Staff section with a desk here as well. I don’t know which would be the most effective arrangement.
Mr. Rockefeller then brought up the question of harmonizing the procedure in relation to the various missions, particularly as related to their control by General Brett in Panama. I gathered that in his talk with General Brett the latter stated that he had very little information regarding War Department policies generally as to objectives in Latin-America.2 On the other hand, Mr. Rockefeller cited several cases where things had not gone too well. There is bound to be a confused administrative problem in relation to missions in any event and particularly so when they operate under the commander in Panama and at the same time we have attaches operating with the ambassadors or ministers in various countries largely under the State Department and partially under the War Department. Just how all this can be arranged to produce a more unified course of action I don’t know but it is a problem that Rockefeller is anxious to have solved.
He assured me that he would see that the State Department representatives in Latin-America cooperate in every way in what we are trying to do, without the usual irritating incidents that have confused matters in the past.
He cited as an example of his uncertainty, the difficulty of knowing how to go about, from his side of the fence, matters pertaining to General Arnold’s Air Corps proposals for Latin-America.3 He, Rockefeller, is apparently much in favor of General Arnold’s plan but the point Rockefeller was after was, with whom should he deal in the War Department machinery, is it somebody in G-2, is it the Latin-American man in OPD, is it the Deputy Chief of Staff, is it General Arnold, or is it all of them?
Mr. Rockefeller is very desirous of building up an effective bond between the War and State Departments with adequate machinery and plainly determined objectives and I want on our side to lend him every possible assistance.4
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. Formerly the coordinator of Inter-American affairs, Nelson A. Rockefeller had become the assistant secretary of state for American republic affairs on December 20, 1944.
2. Lieutenant General George H. Brett had been head of the Caribbean Defense Command since November 1942.
3. On November 15, 1943, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had approved and later sent to the president a paper entitled “U.S. Requirements for Post-War Military Bases” (J.C.S. 570/1). One example of the diplomatic results of this policy paper was the successful effort to negotiate a military aviation agreement with Brazil (June 14, 1944)—and the impact of this on the State Department’s efforts concerning a civil aviation agreement—which may be seen in the documents in Foreign Relations, 1944, 7: 543-66.
4. For further developments, see the following document (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-629 [4: 717-18].
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 716-717.