851.248/251: Telegram

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

1626. Personal for the President only. The Minister for Air has just stated to me that the estimate of the Air Ministry is that if war should break out in the immediate future the French, British and Poles would have together 3,000 first line planes; whereas the Germans and Italians would have 6,500. The French and British and Poles would have 2,700 second line planes; whereas the Germans and Italians would have 6,000.

He added that the French Air Ministry was certain that the minimum number of planes needed from abroad during the first 6 months of war would be 2,800 and that the minimum number of highest powered motors needed from abroad would be 10,000. The Minister for Air added that he hoped to be able to purchase as many of these planes and engines as possible in the United States.

In commenting on the situation at the outbreak of war, the Minister for Air said that the French pursuit aviation now was sufficient in quality and quantity to make German daylight bombardments of Paris and other French cities most risky. He believed that German planes would find it almost impossible to reach Paris during the day time. On the contrary, he believed that at night, owing to the deficiency of projectors, the bombardments of Paris might be terrible in the extreme.

Bullitt