Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scuttling In The South Atlantic

MON 12 FEB 1940
War again comes to the Americas: British heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire stops German freighter Wakama 12 miles off Cabo Frio, Brazil; Wakama's crew scuttles her so that the ship will not fall into British hands (see 16 March).

U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Jefferson Caffery reports to Secretary of State Hull on 20 March 1940 that the Brazilian government's protesting Dorsetshire's stopping Wakama had not pleased the British. The British maintained that they were protecting Brazilian commerce. "Indeed you are not," the Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs Oswaldo Aranha retorts, "you are definitely not protecting our commerce by maintaining your warships off our coast. It is apparent to me that your blockade of Germany is plainly ineffective. If it were effective, you could stop the German boats [sic] on the other side before they entered German ports."

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