711.00111 Armament Control/1267: Telegram

The Chargé in France ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State

457. Reference our 427, March 31, 6 p.m.48 With regard to the delay in receiving any information from the Foreign Office in response to our inquiry concerning these planes the following may throw some light on the matter: The other evening in chance conversation with one of the higher officials of the Foreign Office, he volunteered the statement that he was familiar with our entire inquiry as well as with the fact that we had been keeping the Foreign Office informed of developments regarding the so-called Hunzedal planes. He said in this connection that there were a number of cases of companies in foreign countries, principally in England and Holland, which desired to ship planes to concerns in France: the foreign governments inquired of the Foreign Office here whether if these planes were allowed to be exported they would remain in France and not get into Spain; the Foreign Office at times was placed in an embarrassing situation and they intended to be very sure of their ground and not to make any affirmative reply unless they were absolutely certain that if the planes did come to France they would actually remain here.

In view of the delay which has already taken place in replying to our inquiry and of the obvious embarrassment at the Foreign Office when we have repeated our request for a reply, I am inclined to feel that there is little likelihood of any reply being obtained at least for some time.

It seems to be evident that the Foreign Office and the Air Ministry do not see eye to eye in all these questions. I am convinced that the Foreign Office is making every effort to observe scrupulously the obligations of the French Government regarding the prohibition on export or reexport of aeroplanes to Spain.

So far as this particular case of American airplanes stated to have been ordered by Air France is concerned, I might add that in the opinion of aviation experts attached to this Embassy there is little likelihood that Air France which is subsidized by the French Government and controlled by the Air Ministry would order American planes for its colonial service.

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