711.00111 Armament Control/2157

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

No. 3824

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction no. 1678, under date of March 10, 1939,57 enclosing a copy of a memorandum of a conversation58 between the Chief of the Division of Controls and Mr. Tswen-ling Tsui, First Secretary of the Chinese Embassy, in regard to a report that a corps of American aircraft engineers has recently been employed in Japan in connection with the proposed manufacture of airplanes of American types, and requesting that the Embassy transmit to the Department any information it might have or might be able discreetly to obtain in regard to this matter.

[Page 750]

According to information furnished by the Naval Attaché of this Embassy, the newspaper account in question is highly exaggerated. It is known that five American aircraft engineers, one from the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, one from the Douglas Aircraft Corporation, and three from the Wright Aeronautical Corporation have been employed in Japanese aircraft factories in recent months. It is understood that these engineers have been engaged in teaching to Japanese aircraft engineers “line production methods in the manufacture of planes and engines of American-type produced in Japan under American licences granted to Japanese aircraft companies prior to June 1938. So far as we have been able to determine several of these individuals have been on leave status from their respective companies during the contract period of their employment in Japan, and four of the five are scheduled to return to the United States before the end of April. There is the possibility, of course, that other American aircraft engineers without American connections are at present employed in Japanese aircraft factories, but neither the Embassy nor the office of the Naval Attaché has been able to obtain any information which indicates that such is in fact the case.

There is enclosed for the strictly confidential information of the Department a report dated February 13, 1939,59 on this subject from the Naval Attaché of the Embassy to the Navy Department.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not printed.
  2. Dated March 1, p. 741.
  3. Not printed.