HomeNationsBrazilHeads of StateSousa e Melo, Márcio de
Sousa e Melo, Márcio de

Márcio de Sousa e Melo

b. 26 May 1906, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina
d. 31 Jan 1991, Rio de Janeiro

Title: Ministro da Aeronáutica Militar (Minister of the Air Force)
Term: 15 Mar 1967 - 29 Nov 1971
Chronology: 15 Mar 1967, appointed Minister of the Air Force by decree of the President of the Republic
  31 Aug 1969, ministers of Navy, Army and Air Force temporarily assumed the presidency for the time of illness of the incumbent in virtue of Article 1 of the Institutional Act No. 12 issued by the three military ministers (Diário Oficial, Seção I - Part I, No. 166, 1 Sep 1969, p. 7369; rectified version in Diário Oficial, Seção I - Part I, No. 173, 10 Sep 1969, p. 7649)
  14 Oct 1969, the office of President of the Republic declared vacant by Article 1 of the Institutional Act No. 16 issued by the military ministers

30 Oct 1969, ceased to exercise the functions of head of state with the installation of the President of the Republic


Márcio de Sousa e Melo graduated from the Realengo Military Academy in Rio de Janeiro (1928) and was commissioned second lieutenant. Promoted to first lieutenant in 1931, Sousa e Melo was a pioneer in establishing military airmail services (Correio Aéreo Militar) in Brazil. Advanced to major in September 1938, Sousa e Melo was assigned to new aeronautics ministry in January 1941. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in December 1941, Sousa e Melo was active in converting the confiscated German airline Condor into the national airline Cruzeiro do Sul (1942-1943). In 1944 he was named commander of an air base at Santos. After World War II, Sousa e Melo studied in the United States and was promoted to colonel in November 1946. He also attended a training course with the Aeronautics General Staff (1947-1948) and was sent first to Argentina and then to Uruguay, where he was an air force attaché (1948-1951) and became friends with Artur da Costa e Silva. In 1951-1953 Sousa e Melo taught at military academies and worked for the Aeronautics General Inspection. With his promotion to brigadier-general, Sousa e Melo was named chief of the cabinet under aeronautics minister Eduardo Gomes (1954). In 1957 Sousa e Melo headed the Air Force Academy and became assistant to the commander of the Superior War Academy. He was put in charge of the Third Air Command Zone (Feb 1961 - Sep 1961) and promoted to major-general (April 1961). After the installation of military regime, he was appointed commander of the Fourth Air Command Zone (April 1964). Appointed aeronautics minister on 15 Dec 1964, Sousa e Melo was forced to resign (6 Jan 1965) when he opposed the intervention of President Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco into a conflict between Air Force and Navy. He was made general inspector of the aeronautics in the rank of lieutenant-general (1966) and retired the same year at the rank of general. The election of his old friend, Costa e Silva, as President of the Republic (1967) opened new opportunities for the retired general, who was again made aeronautics minister (15 Mar 1967 - 29 Nov 1971). Sousa e Melo was involved in the events surrounding the assumption of presidency by the military ministers (31 Aug 1969), but he retained his ministerial post after the inauguration of President Emílio Garrastazu Médici (25 Oct 1969). He resigned the office over some obscure conflicts involving his former boss, Eduardo Gomes. [1]

[1] Dicionário Histórico-Biográfico Brasileiro (1984)