3-131 Memorandum for General Lee, March 15, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 15, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Lee1

March 15, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


Please have Colonel Bratton look over Magic and see if he finds any reference to the Queen Mary. I have a dim recollection that her stop in Rio was reported in Magic. If this is the case, I would like a little statement of the report from Magic with an indication of the hazard we are submitting to, lack of control of such communications out of Brazil, and a statement of the quotation from the report from Rome of the sinking of the Queen.

Added to this should be a statement that she actually is carrying 9,000 troops.2

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 570 Queen Mary, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Brigadier General Raymond E. Lee was assistant chief of staff for Intelligence.

2. Luxury liners such as the Queen Mary figured prominently in Allied troop transport plans in early 1942. Because the British considered that the Queen Mary could not be risked in North Atlantic waters, she had left Boston on February 18, with nine thousand United States Army troops, bound for Australia via the Cape of Good Hope. After she refueled in Brazil, Military Intelligence intercepted five radio transmissions to Germany from a secret station somewhere near Rio de Janeiro. The March 12 messages reported the ship’s location and cargo. On the following day, the Federal Communications Commission intercepted a message from Rome inaccurately reporting that the Queen Mary had been torpedoed near the Falkland Islands, while carrying ten thousand American troops. (Lee Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, March 16, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OCS, 311.23]; Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1955], pp. 158-59.)

Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 133-134.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 3-131

Rights: Public Information