Brazilian novelist Érico Veríssimo (1905–75) was an ambiguous subject of the Good Neighbor Policy: invited to the United States by the Department of State, he was also accused of anti-Americanism by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). An international police investigation into Veríssimo shows a Brazilian-US network in which literature is questioned both as a potential vehicle for subversion and as representative of its political context. Archival sources related to this investigation reveal how police agents searched for clues within fiction and how ideology often got lost in translation. Through a close reading of these sources, I explore the function of literature and the processes for its interpretation in political culture. This essay, by probing the contradictions of the Good Neighbor Policy and the transition from World War II to the Cold War, reveals how Brazilian and US police in collaboration applied the anti-Axis counterintelligence apparatus to the surveillance of Allied literature.

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