2-331 To Oswaldo Aranha, January 6, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: January 6, 1941

To Oswaldo Aranha

January 6, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]


Your Excellency:

I deeply appreciate the message from you, brought to me a few days ago by the Chargé d’Affaires of the Brazilian Embassy, regarding the release by the British of the military materiel purchased by Brazil in Germany. Whatever little I had to do in the matter was gladly done, and I was happy to learn that the decision has been a favorable one.1

It was a great pleasure for us to welcome General Monteiro again to the United States, and I was only sorry that with so many officials I could not find the opportunity to be with him personally as much as I would have liked to have been. We did manage to have several evenings and a lunch together at my house. I trust he brought to you a favorable report of his visit.2

Personally, I am inclined to think that the most valuable result lay in the intimate contacts and friendships developed among the visiting officials who were together over a considerable period of time and on a most informal basis, except for stated occasions.

I wish to assure your Excellency that I have constantly in mind an effort to do everything possible to assist your Government in obtaining whatever is desired in this country. In the midst of a struggle to give Great Britain all she needs in her present crisis, along with the armament of a million and a half men in this country, it is exceedingly difficult to make all ends meet, to our great embarrassment in many directions.3

I have never ceased to recall your gracious courtesy and hospitality to me on my memorable visit to Brazil. I am always hoping that you will have occasion to come to Washington, that I may have the opportunity in this country to repay some of the boundless hospitality and generous treatment you personally accorded me.4

With great respect and high esteem, believe me

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. On the Siqueira Campos affair, see Memorandum for the Secretary of War, December 3, 1940, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-316 [2: 364–65].

2. On January 6 Marshall received a confidential note from Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles which included a paraphrased message from Aranha, who stated that because of the attitude of the United States, Brazilian policy would henceforth clearly favor the British cause. Furthermore, the Brazilian Army’s attitude was safely pro-United States, and German influence was no longer dangerous. Aranha did observe, however, that General Góes Monteiro’s wavering attitude was a destabilizing factor. At the end of this message Welles added: “I feel that the personal regard and admiration which General Góes Monteiro has for you is peculiarly valuable at this time and I continue to think that the closer your contact with the General is, the more stable will he become!!” (Welles to Marshall, January 4, 1941, NA/RG 165 [WPD, 4224–116].)

3. Marshall spoke with General Amaro Bittencourt, first sub-chief of the General Staff of Brazil, on January 8, 1941. He explained that little could be done to satisfy Brazil’s needs for war materiel since the Allies had first claim on United States production. Bittencourt reduced his $250,000,000 request to a priority list consisting of approximately one-half of the original. The War Department then worked out a tentative schedule for the availability of items on the priority list. By mid-January 1941 Bittencourt had a clear picture of future United States armaments sales. (Stetson Conn and Byron Fairchild, The Framework of Hemisphere Defense, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1960], pp. 278–79.)

4. On Marshall’s May-June 1939 trip to Brazil, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-575–#1-578 [1: 715–20].

Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 381–382.


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