The Ambassador in Brazil (Morgan) to the Secretary of State

No. 3466

Sir: With the departure for home of the American Naval Mission to Brazil at the end of January, 1931, I have the honor to request that the Department will discuss with the Navy Department the reassignment of a Naval Attaché to this Embassy. The office of Naval Attaché was discontinued when Captain William Alden Hall, U. S. N., who was assigned in June, 1927, was detailed as a member of the Naval Mission in April, 1929, and employed as an instructor in the Brazilian Naval War College. For a number of years after the Mission was established, however, the Navy Department continued to be represented by an attaché.

A new naval attaché might be instructed not only to perform the usual duties of his office, but to serve as a liaison officer between the Brazilian Navy and the traditions of cooperation between the American and Brazilian navies which the Mission during the period of eight years has so efficiently created and developed. It would be indeed regrettable if the moral effect of what has been accomplished should be allowed to fade out because the preservation of suitable means were wanting. Certain departments of the Brazilian Navy must for many years depend on foreign assistance, and when national finances improve, a few foreign officers will be engaged for the Naval War College and for certain technical departments. As large a mission as the one which is to be discontinued will not be necessary because it cannot be adequately employed until the material of the naval service is increased by additional naval vessels of one or another category. The presence of an American Naval Attaché, especially if he has Mission’s associations, will perpetuate the influence of the United States in the Brazilian Navy and will discourage that Navy from turning to European Powers for technical assistance and advice.

I recommend, therefore, that Lieutenant Commander W. H. P. Blandy, U. S. N., who recently arrived to join the Mission, and who having two years shore duty before him need not soon go afloat, shall be detailed as Naval Attaché. Since he and his family are already established in Rio de Janeiro, the Navy Department will be saved the expense of transportation. Personally and professionally he is well equipped for attaché’s duty, and the contacts which he has already made and which he will increase in local naval circles are sound. His rank under existing conditions is sufficiently adequate to prevent embarrassment to himself or to the service from the fact that it is not of higher grade, and he informs me that he will gladly perform the Attaché’s duty if the Navy Department shall detail him.

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The Foreign Minister has told me that the only Naval Attaché whom the Brazilian Navy intends, if possible, to maintain in a foreign capital is the Attaché in Washington, D. C.

The subject of this despatch is of unusual importance for the maintenance of our prestige and I bespeak the Department’s earnest consideration of my proposals.

Respectfully yours,

Edwin V. Morgan