711.00111 Lic. Hanover Sales Corp./51/4

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

After consulting Mr. Dunn of WE, I called Colonel Champsaur, Air Attaché of the French Embassy, by telephone this morning and told him that we had just received an application for a license to authorize the exportation to France of 20 two-place Bellanca low wing mail monoplanes. I told him further that the applicant had stated that these planes had been purchased by Air France for use on its colonial lines. I said that, in view of the circumstances surrounding the proposed exportation, we had some doubt as to whether France was in fact the country of destination and as to whether Air France had in fact purchased the planes. I asked him whether he had any information in regard to the proposed transaction.

Colonel Champsaur said that he had no information whatever, but he expressed great surprise that Air France should be purchasing airplanes in this country. He added that Air France was so closely identified with the French Government that if the Company were purchasing planes, the transaction would to all intents and purposes amount to a purchase by the French Government, and that any statement made by Air France could be relied upon as if it were a statement by the French Government.

I told Colonel Champsaur that if Air France stated that it had in fact purchased the planes for its own use, the export license would be issued, but that we had some reason to doubt whether such a purchase had ever actually taken place.

Colonel Champsaur suggested that I call Monsieur Brun, representative of Air France in New York, and ask him whether he knew anything about the proposed transaction.

I called Monsieur Brun by telephone and asked him whether his Company had recently purchased 20 Bellanca airplanes in the United States. He expressed great astonishment at the question, said that it was impossible that his Company should have purchased 20 planes in this country without his knowledge, and asked whether I did not suspect that any planes exported ostensibly for use by Air France might not in reality be intended for export to Spain.

I told Monsieur Brun that that possibility had occurred to me and that it was for that reason that I had called him to ask for information.

Monsieur Brun said that he was morally certain that Air France had made no such purchase, but that in order to make assurance [Page 579] doubly sure, he would telegraph his Company requesting information. He said that he would telephone me on receipt of a reply.

March 29, 1937.

Monsieur Brun has not as yet communicated with me further in regard to this matter.41

Joseph C. Green
  1. On April 16, Colonel Champsaur informed Mr. Green that M. Brun still had received no reply from his company (711.00111 Lic. Hanover Sales Corp./51/27).