4-629 Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary of State, December 30, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 30, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary of State [for American Republic Affairs]


December 30, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Rockefeller:

After our conversation the day before yesterday I gave the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Handy, General Arnold, General Hull and General Bissell a summary of your views and my statements.1 This morning we had a brief discussion of the various points.

While we are just entering into the problem of what had best be done, if agreeable to you, I thought it wise to give you our views at the moment in order that you may, if you have a different slant, let me know before we get too deep into the preparation of proposals to you.

In the first place, there is a very effective officer in Brazil, I have forgotten his name, thoroughly familiar with all of the Latin-American affairs, and who commands our confidence.2 Our idea is to bring him here and centralize all War Department matters concerning the missions in Latin-American under him; he would be in the Operations Section of the War Department General Staff, though we think that he should have a desk in your office so that he would [be] thoroughly familiar with both sides of the fence.

We believe that the attaches must remain for Army coordination under G-2, General Bissell. However, in line with what I said to you about missions and the confusion they create in the ordinary organizational setup, I have this proposal in mind, that we put up to the Committee composed of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy who in turn have working groups under them, a statement of the purpose for each of these missions as now established or that may be established later. Once this statement is cleared by the Cabinet officials referred to, we should prepare a directive to be similarly cleared by that Committee which would in effect place all activities, in a general way, in each state under our ambassador or minister. He would be given the policy or purpose of the mission and it would be his duty to forward this program in every diplomatic way possible. In turn the head of the mission would receive instructions from the War Department outlining his specific mission, giving him the directions for its implementation but also directing him to report to the ambassador with relation to his, the Chief of Mission’s, contacts with the officials of the country in question.

I should be curious to get your reaction to the above.3

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. For previous consideration of the coordination of civilian-military policy with regard to Latin America, see Marshall Memorandum for General Handy, General Arnold, General Bissell, December 28, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-628 [4: 716-17].

2. Brigadier General Kenner F. Hertford (U.S.M.A., 1923), had been deputy commander, U.S. Army Forces, South Atlantic, in Recife, Brazil, since early 1942.

3. Rockefeller replied that he was “delighted” with Marshall’s suggestions. “As a matter of fact, it seems to me that the objectives and assignments of all missions in the field, regardless of their nature, should be handled in a similar way, thus placing the Ambassador in a position to support and direct all United States activities being carried on within the area under his responsibility. Then, if the Ambassador does not carry out his responsibility, a change should be made.” Furthermore, he was “anxious as rapidly as possible to develop a complete program of our long-term objectives” in Latin America. (Rockefeller to Marshall, January 5, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 091 South America (January 10, 1945)].)

On April 1, 1945, the Operations Division established a Pan American Group with Hertford as its chief. Its job was to “serve as the central agency within the War Department for formulation, subject to overall War Department and Joint Chief[s] of Staff objectives, of plans and policies specifically pertaining to other American Republics.” It would coordinate with other governmental agencies, monitor War Department actions pertaining to Latin America, provide Operations Division membership on relevant boards and committees, and “investigate and determine the justification” of requests for troops, supplies, equipment, and operational plans from the Caribbean Defense Command and the U.S. Army Forces, South Atlantic. (Lieutenant Colonel James Stack Memorandum for Groups and Sections, OPD, March 31, 1945, ibid.)

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. 717-718.

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