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Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont (1926)

Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont (1926)

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“(...) about my letter to the League of Nations asking for the abolition of aviation as an instrument of destruction.”

  • Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont to the Director of Jornal Estado de São Paulo, Júlio de Mesquita.
  • One page.
  • In Portuguese.
  • 21.5 cm x 26.5 cm.
  • Val-Mont Clinic, Switzerland, November 7, 1926.
  • Excellent condition.
  • Unique piece.

At the end of the 1920s, several correspondences show Santos Dumont referring to the weakened state in which he found himself. He spent long periods in a famous nursing home, Valmont, in Glion-sur-Montreux, Switzerland, from where he wrote this letter. Multiple sclerosis? Depression? Biographers disagree, but the fact is that his condition was getting worse and he was unable to attend the tributes that were scheduled for him. In 1927, when Charles Lindbergh crossed the North Atlantic on a solo flight, Santos Dumont was invited to the reception, but did not attend, as he was hospitalized in Valmont-sur-Territet, Switzerland.

It was from there, in 1926, that he had attempted to appeal to the League of Nations (currently the UN), through his friend, Ambassador Afrânio de Melo Franco, Brazilian representative at the meeting that would be held on January 14:

“I read in several newspapers that the intention is to limit the action of submarines, prohibiting them from taking an active part in future wars. However, as far as I know, no thought was given to the Air Force. We know, however, what aerial machines are capable of. Their exploits, during the last war, allow us to glimpse, with horror, the degree of destruction they could achieve in the future, as spreaders of death, not only among the fighting forces, but also, and unfortunately, among harmless people in the world. rear zone. Those who, like me, were humble pioneers in the conquest of the air, thought more about creating new means of peaceful expansion for peoples than about providing them with new weapons of combat.”

In this context, this letter seems exceptional to me. Santos Dumont writes to Júlio de Mesquita, the emblematic owner of the newspaper Estado de São Paulo, very influential at the time. He comments on his poor health, the tributes paid to him and, above all, the famous “letter to the League of Nations calling for the abolition of aviation as an instrument of destruction” . A historic letter and, unfortunately, still very current.

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