711.00111 Lic. Wah Chang Trading Corp./93/48
Memorandum of Conversations, by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control (Green)
I called Mr. Bellanca, President of the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, New Castle, Delaware, by telephone this morning. It was this [Page 523] company which manufactured the planes just exported to China on the S. S. Wichita, which has been the subject of so much recent publicity.
Mr. Bellanca confirmed the information which I already had that these planes were single engine planes with a maximum speed of 280 miles P. H., built to carry two persons—a pilot and a co-pilot. These planes are of the type originally constructed for carrying mail in the United States. Recent Government regulations prohibit their use for that purpose as they are not considered safe for long distance flights.
The planes were originally purchased by the Hanover Sales Corporation on behalf of the Spanish Government under a contract entered into with Bellanca last November. We refused to issue an export license for their exportation ostensibly to France, and the Hanover Sales Corporation was, therefore, left with them on their hands until they were able to dispose of them to the Chinese Government.
Nineteen planes were shipped on board the S. S. Wichita. The remaining plane is still under construction in the Bellanca factory at New Castle. Mr. Bellanca told me that it would probably be shipped to China in the near future. No armament of any description accompanied these planes.
I called Admiral Long [Land], Acting Chairman of the U. S. Maritime Commission, by telephone this morning. In response to my questions, he told me that the S. S. Wichita is owned by the United States Government, that it is under charter to the American Pioneer Lines, and operating on an approved schedule under a Government subsidy. The operation of the ship is entirely in the hands of the company which has chartered it.