711.00111 Armament Control/1568

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control (Yost)

Captain H. Tauscher, President of the H. Tauscher Arms Corporation of New York City, called this morning to say that they had been approached by a British company which desired to purchase half [Page 547]a million Mauser rifles for shipment to Singapore. Captain Tauscher did not endeavor to conceal that the rifles would doubtless be transshipped to China. He said that he was not able to provide such a quantity of Mauser rifles for immediate delivery but that he had come to Washington in an effort to obtain a like quantity of Springfields from the War Department. He said that he had found that the War Department did not have Springfields available but that it did have a considerable number of Lee-Enfields which could be declared surplus and sold. He added, however, that the War Department refused to do business with him until the State Department had approved the proposed transaction. I described to Captain Tauscher the long-standing policy of this Government prohibiting the sale by the Government of arms for export to foreign countries. I added that this policy had been expressly included in the latest War Department regulations in regard to the sale of surplus arms and that it was not my belief that the Secretary of State would wish to request the Secretary of War to ignore the regulations which he had promulgated and which were based on this traditional policy. I said, however, that I would bring his request to the attention of my superiors and would inform him if the Department had any comment to make in regard to this transaction.

On consulting the War Department informally, I found that it did have two million Lee-Enfield rifles of which it wished to dispose, but that it would, of course, be contrary to its regulations to sell them for export.

C[harles] W. Y[ost]