851.248/181: Telegram

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

268. Your no. 732, April 14, 4:00 p.m. The Allison company manufactures several different types of engines. The latest model available for immediate delivery is the V–1710–21. This is a sea level type without supercharger. No engine of the type V–1710–19 which is equipped with supercharger could be delivered for at least 3 weeks. The company is now engaged in producing a perfected model of the [Page 512] V–1710–19, but no engine of this type could be delivered for at least 6 weeks.

The French Air Attaché called at the Department this morning. He ordered by telephone one V–1710–21. The Department, after consultation with the War Department, has telegraphed to Allison authorizing the company to deliver immediately to the French the engine ordered by the Attaché and to divert for this purpose one of the engines of that type now on hand. Furthermore, the company has been informed that there is no objection, on the ground of military secrecy, to the sale for exportation of all three models mentioned above. Thus the French Government may, if it wishes, obtain test engines of the other two types within the next few weeks. The Attaché is proceeding to Indianapolis to visit the Allison plant on Monday. The company has been authorized to communicate to him characteristics and installation data concerning all three types.

The Department has endeavored, and will endeavor, to expedite fulfillment of all formalities in regard to the release for export and issuance of export license in connection with the engine ordered by the Attaché and it seems probable that it can be shipped on the Ile de France April 20.

The Minister for Air has under-estimated the cost of these engines. The price of the single engine to be delivered next week has not been definitely fixed by the company. It will probably be fixed at some figure between $25,000 and $30,000. These engines when manufactured in quantity for this Government will cost approximately $20,000. Should the French decide to place an order for 800 it must expect to have to pay approximately that amount per engine.

I have been unable to obtain as yet information on which to base answers to your questions as to the length of time which would be required to increase the production of Allison engines to 300 per month and as to the proportion of the proposed production of 60 per month which would be required by this Government. I hope to telegraph answers to those questions early next week.