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Memorandum for the War Plans Division
May 23, 1940 Washington, D.C.
In a discussion with the President yesterday afternoon, and with Mr. Sumner Welles this morning, the memorandum prepared yesterday on the subject “National Strategic Decisions”, I found the President in general agreement, also Admiral Stark, and specifically, Mr. Welles. They all felt that we must not become involved with Japan, that we must not concern ourselves beyond the 180 meridian, and that we must concentrate on the South American situation. All were in comparative agreement with the proposal which I made to have cruisers, with marines aboard, in certain South American ports on the East coast, to be available to support the existing governments in the event of an attempted Nazi overthrow.
I left the original of this memorandum with the President, and a copy with Mr. Welles, and with Admiral Stark. I think the matter is now well under way in their minds, and I believe that definite action will be taken.
I stated to Mr. Welles that some such idea as this should be one of the matters which our representatives about to be sent to South America should discuss on a definite basis with the authorities of certain of the governments there.
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the War Plans Division (WPD), 4175-10, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
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), p. 220.