3-190 To General Pedro Góes Monteiro, May 12, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 12, 1942

Subject: World War II

To General Pedro Góes Monteiro

May 12, 1942   [Washington, D.C.]


Dear General Góes:

I appreciated very much your frank reply to my letter of April 3d, and was gratified to have your reassurance of cooperation and understanding.  The conferences recently held in Brazil give considerable promise of effective channels for implementing our joint participation in mutual defense, on land and in the air.1

We have lost opportunities for close cooperation in the past, but it is futile to dwell on such incidents.  You agree, I am sure, that this is a time for action with all eyes to the future, a time to consider only those measures that may mutually assist to accelerate the solution of our problems.

We were greatly relieved to learn of the effective measures applied by Brazil against the numerous Axis agents whose persistent intrigue and clandestine operations were so dangerous to the security of the Western Hemisphere.  I am aware of the magnitude of the problem that still remains, but I am hopeful that the continuation of present measures by Brazil will result in the speedy elimination of this hazard to planes and ships and to the Panama Canal itself.2

The recent attacks on Brazilian ships by enemy submarines and the exposures of his secret organizations in your midst must have aroused your good people to an appreciation of the ruthless character of the war that the Axis is waging, and to the dangers with which we all are faced.

During the past few weeks we have been able to send you a number of airplanes and other materiel of various kinds.  You appreciate the difficulties of our materiel problem and the necessity of meeting the minimum requirements of our own forces as well as of other forces in actual combat with Germany and Japan, and of course Italy.  I have clearly in mind your needs and shall see that, in return for the cooperation which you have offered on your part, that we on our part give you the material assistance you request as far as our capacities will permit.

Faithfully yours,

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

Document Format:  Typed letter.

1. War Department officials considered Brazilian Army Chief of Staff Pedro Aurelio de Góes Monteiro to be a major obstacle to United States-Brazil cooperation.  In his April 3 letter, drafted in the Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Marshall had reiterated the dangers to Latin America posed by the Axis powers.  He cited intercepted Axis messages detailing the movements of the Queen Mary as one example of the widespread intelligence network operating in Brazil, and requested cooperation in hemispheric defense. (Marshall Memorandum for the Secretary of War, April 3, 1942, and Marshall to Góes Monteiro, April 3, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OCS, 336.4].)  Góes Monteiro used Marshall’s request for greater cooperation to ask for more munitions.  He complained that “certain American officers” did not inspire Brazilian confidence.  While he deplored the threat to the Queen Mary, Góes Monteiro observed that five Brazilian ships, lacking protection from German submarines, had been sunk off the United States coast.  The Brazilian chief of staff claimed to have warned his government about internal subversion, and he noted dangerous conditions in Argentina as a justification for more armaments. (Góes Monteiro to Marshall, April 22, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OPD, 381 Brazil].)

2. The Brazilian government had recently conducted a roundup of Axis agents—an action considered insufficient by War Department experts on Brazil. (Thomas D. White Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, May 8, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OCS, 336.4].)

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. 196–197.

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