Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Controls (Green)
The French Ambassador called at my office this morning. He said that he had recently been in New York, where he had discussed at length with Baron de la Grange and Mr. Wertheimer their proposal to establish an airplane factory in this country and had finally persuaded both of them to return to France without coming to Washington. [Page 508] He said that Mr. Wertheimer would leave for France this week.
The Ambassador said that he thoroughly understood and appreciated the position of this Government in regard to the proposed transaction. He went on to tell me at some length of his conversation with Mr. Wertheimer, saying that Mr. Wertheimer had apparently sincerely construed remarks made to him by the Assistant Secretary of War and General Arnold as intending to express the approval of this Government of what he proposed to do, and that he had been confirmed in this understanding by what Mr. Rosenblatt had told him. He said that Mr. Wertheimer was terribly distressed at the way things had turned out. The Ambassador told me that he felt that Mr. Wertheimer was largely responsible for the failure of his own plans through his failure to make them known in advance to his Government, through his failure to explain them fully to the War Department when he was last in Washington, and through his unlimited confidence in Mr. Rosenblatt, whose political influence he had estimated at Mr. Rosenblatt’s own valuation of it.
The Ambassador made one statement of particular interest. In discussing the proposed financial arrangements, he said that Wertheimer’s plan had been to arrange to have it appear, by ostensible ownership of stock by Americans, that the company to be set up was an American company, whereas in fact the American company would have been “a straw man” owned and controlled by French interests. It will be noted that this statement is at variance with the statements made to me by Mr. Bendix in our conversation on March 16.50
- Memorandum of conversation not printed. Vincent Bendix was president of the Bendix Aviation Corporation.↩