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To General Malin Craig
May 26, 1939 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As this airmail costs 25¢ a sheet I will crowd my report into a few pages.
We landed, or docked, at 9-30 yesterday morning alongside a park like enclosure at the foot of the principal avenue—with a club building at the foot of the gangway, for reception purposes. A band of 100 pieces was alongside and gathered in the reception club were about 25 generals—all of this vicinity, the Ambassador,1 the Mayor, representatives of the President and minister of foreign affairs, the head of the Navy, etc, etc.
In the Presidents open car I was taken up the avenue, which was lined with troops—and several bands, for about ten blocks—maybe [less?]. The people thronged in rear of the troops and applauded rather generously. The Ambassador said this was most unusual, as they were generally silent. I am being impersonal as I personally was unknown.
At the hotel they put us up luxuriously—I have 2 sitting rooms and a balcony overlooking the beach. The calls—President, Mayor, minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of War and Navy, and General Monteiro were as usual, but pretentiously arranged. All the officers of the War Dept received me at Gen. Monteiro’s office—and he served champagne. Each of us has a car and a Brazilian aide—I have 2, a colonel of aviation and a major. All the aides are put up at the hotel. All our hotel and travel expenses are covered by the Government. They are doing this in great style.
Aranya is the guiding hand, and is both charming and utterly frank. He states his desires, solicits my assistance in influencing Brazilian Generals, advises me, explains the things he would like Monteiro to see in U.S., etc. etc. He is crazy about Col. Smith and hopes Monteiro will see him in U.S.
The present mission seems to be working out OK, from all I hear— Ambassador, Aranya, Monteiro.
I find Gen. Monteiro appears at all luncheons, receptions, dinners; but delegates other Generals to accompany me. That being so, I could start out with him and then return to Washington if you care to get away.
I had a long strenuous day today—walked miles. At 7 P.M. go to Palace to reception for Countess Ciano—Mussolinis daughter.2 At 8 P.M. I go on to a military reception for me. Tomorrow noon I leave—by plane—for Sao Paulo and Southern Brazil.
The Pan-American is offering free transport north, so I am sending Col. Chaney and Ridgeway ahead of time to mouth of Amazon and intermediate ports.3 They return to Pernambuco and the Nashville (and I) pick them up there. The ambassador insisted on the importance of Gen. Monteiro and I sailing from here on the Nashville, with the maximum of ceremony. Under this arrangement we should reach Annapolis June 20th—noon. I will radio tomorrow the definite decision.
I suggest the Langley Field and Mitchell Field air forces meet the Nashville about 9 A.M. and escort the boat a half hour or so.
Aranya wants to have a larger mission and more senior officers, the extra ones to go by commercial boat. He wants them, the seniors, to see our methods, people, etc.
This will be hard reading. It has been hard writing on this paper.
You certainly have been good and kind about Katherine, and I deeply appreciate and will never forget.4 I have had 4 letters from her here.
G. C. M.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1917– (RG 407), 210.482, Brazil [4-29-39], National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.
1. The United States ambassador to Brazil since August, 1937, had been Jefferson Caffery.
2. Countess Edda Ciano, daughter of Italian leader Benito Mussolini and wife of Italy’s foreign minister, arrived in Brazil at nearly the same time as Marshall. One United States magazine cited Brazilian sources as saying that her visit was directly connected with the German-American competition for trade supremacy in Brazil (Time 33 [May 22, 1939]: 29.)
3. Major Matthew S. Ridgway, a General Staff officer attached to the Fourth Army Staff in San Francisco, had been personally selected by Marshall for the trip. General Arnold had proposed Colonel James E. Chaney (U.S.M.A., 1908), former assistant chief of the Air corps (1934–38)
4. Marshall’s wife had contracted an acute case of poison-ivy rash and was in Walter Reed Hospital. (K. T. Marshall, Together, p. 43.)
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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 716-717.