711.00111 Armament Control/Military Secrets/1384

Memorandum by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control ( Green )

Mr. Alexander P. de Seversky, President of the Seversky Aircraft Corporation, called at my office this morning. He said that the Soviet Government had contracted to purchase from the Company a large number of bombing planes of a new type to be designed by him. Ha said that it was stipulated that the planes should have certain stated characteristics but that the planes had not yet been designed. He said that the Soviet authorities knew that he could design a first class bombing plane and were willing to trust him to produce planes which would satisfy their requirements. He said that they had paid him $100,000 to develop a new plane for them.

Mr. Seversky asked whether, in my opinion, he would encounter any difficulty in obtaining a license to export these planes.

I told Mr. Seversky that, barring unforeseen changes in existing law or in the international situation, the necessary export license could be issued immediately unless the new type of planes was found to involve military secrets of interest to the national defense.

Mr. Seversky said that the plane which he intended to design would not involve any military secret, but that he feared that the War and Navy Departments might object to its exportation merely on the ground that it would be superior to any bombing plane now in existence.

I invited Mr. Seversky’s attention to Part V of the pamphlet, International Traffic in Arms, and explained that objection to the exportation of an article on the ground of military secrecy could be made [Page 706] only in the case of articles falling within categories (a) and (b) described in Part V of that pamphlet. I suggested that in order to obviate any possible difficulties he might wish to transmit to me as soon as possible his plans and specifications for the new type of plane in order that I may ascertain from the appropriate authorities of the War and Navy Departments whether any military secrets were involved therein.

Mr. Seversky said that he would comply with my suggestion. He expressed some doubts, however, as to whether the War Department might not use the pretext of military secrecy to prevent the exportation of the new planes merely because of their superior performance. In this connection he referred to the difficulties which he had experienced in obtaining a release for export of the internal bomb racks which were the subject of correspondence with the Department in August and September,21 and expressed satisfaction that the War Department had reversed its original decision to interpose objection to the exportation of planes equipped with these bomb racks. He also mentioned, incidentally, his letter of August 25 enclosing a copy of a letter from Major Propst,22 stating that request for export release might be made either to the Chief of the Air Corps23 or to the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics.24 He said that he intended, however, to address the request for the release of the new type of plane which he was intending to design for the Soviet Government to the Department of State in hope that this Department might expedite action in the matter.

Joseph C. Green
  1. Not printed.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Maj. Gen. H. H. Arnold.
  4. Rear Adm. Arthur B. Cook