851.248/175: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Bullitt )

262. Your No. 707, April 12, 3 p.m. The Curtiss-Wright and Pratt and Whitney facilities for the manufacture of airplane engines are already more than ample to cope with the orders which they have received from this Government and the orders which the Government has in contemplation. Therefore, these two companies could, without interfering with deliveries to this Government, expand their production of engines considerably if they were to receive orders from foreign governments.

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The Allison Engineering Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors. Its present maximum production is two engines per week. The War Department has placed an order for 400 Allison engines and proposes to place an order for 800 more if and when further monies for the purchase of engines are appropriated. It seems likely that Congress will not act on these further appropriations for perhaps 2 months. In the meantime, the War Department is attempting to persuade General Motors to authorize an expenditure of 3½ million dollars for the expansion of the Allison plant. General Motors is reluctant to authorize this expenditure until Allison is definitely assured of orders for at least 1200 engines. If 3½ million dollars were expended in the expansion of the Allison plant, the company could, in approximately 3 months, begin to produce engines at the rate of 60 per month. If the French Government desires to place an immediate order for one Allison engine with the company, neither the War Department nor the Navy Department would interpose any objection to the filling of that order. The engine would be stricken immediately from the list of military secrets, and the Department would issue an export license without delay. The War Department is of the opinion that, should the French Government place an order for 800 of these engines, that order, together with the order for 400 already placed by this Government, would be sufficient to persuade General Motors to authorize the expenditure of 3½ million dollars for expansion, and deliveries to both Governments could begin approximately 3 months thereafter.