893.113/1309: Telegram

The Consul General at Nanking (Peck) to the Acting Secretary of State

Information American Minister, Peiping:

41. 1. In conversation with me today Soong, Minister of Finance, stated that he had reliable information that the so-called Government at Canton had purchased eight Lockheed Vega planes for immediate delivery consigned to Canton by way of Hong Kong. He said sellers had furnished Canton authorities blueprints showing how these commercial planes could be easily converted into prohibited planes by mounting machine guns thereon. I confirmed his impression that no restriction is placed on exportation to China of commercial planes. Minister of Finance stated these planes are capable of speed of 200 miles per hour and in view of all the circumstances it is obvious that the Canton authorities desire them for troop protection. Since Canton [Page 1021] authorities are in rebellion against the National Government he asked me to transmit the request of the Chinese Government that exportation of these eight planes be forbidden. He was unable to designate place of export but said order was placed through Meeker E. G. and Company. Planes are manufactured by Lockheed Aircraft Company at Burbank, California. Material, type, market, Lockheed Sirius not Vega.

2. For Department’s information. McConnell, Vice President of the United Aircraft Export Company assures me that the British authorities at Hong Kong place no impediment in the way of sales of fighting planes by British merchants to the Chinese authorities at Canton and have even given assurance that military planes consigned to Canton by way of Hong Kong will not be interfered with at Hong Kong.

3. Repeated to the American Minister.