The Chargé in Brazil (Burdett) to the Secretary of State
[Received 6:05 p.m.]
634. Reference your 418, November 30, 5 p.m. Vasp has shown the Embassy list of its stockholders as proof that less than 10% is German owned; state and city of São Paulo being majority stockholders. Brazilian pilots are used, but Ismael Guilherme, German trained chief of operations, and German mechanics are employed. Public opinion regards the Vasp as under German influence.
The President of Vasp called at the Embassy and suggested removing all German influences except Ismael Guilherme and replacing the discharged personnel by Americans in consideration for early delivery of three Douglas DC–3s from the United States.[Page 669]
While trying to obtain this American equipment the company is also endeavoring to obtain (1) an Italian Savoia-Marchetti now in Rio; (2) two Condor two motor Focke Wulff planes now laid up in Rio because of lack of Brazilian-born pilots in the Condor organization; (3) a Douglas owned by Air France now at Buenos Aires; (4) planes flown from Italy; or (5) planes flown from Germany. It cannot be foreseen which if any of these planes can be obtained, but it seems likely that from some of these sources enough flying equipment can be obtained to keep Vasp in operation for at least 1 year more.
The company is endeavoring to obtain Douglas DC–3 equipment through La Saigne, the Bio agent who is in telegraphic correspondence with the Douglas Company.
It is impossible to determine whether the offer to eliminate German influence in return for receiving American equipment is genuine or whether it is advisable for us to furnish such equipment when it appears likely that at the termination of the war Vasp under its present management will return to German equipment and German influence. The present Vasp company has no intention of surrendering management control.
There are recurring opportunities to replace German-controlled domestic schedules by Brazilian ones under American influence, but they are generally subject to prompt acceptance and immediate availability of American flying equipment. It is recommended that a competent air traffic expert from the Civil Aeronautics Board such as W. T. Hardin be designated to proceed to Brazil for an extended stay; and that this person be in position to have aircraft delivered here within a short time when opportunities offer for desirable acquisition of or participation in new or old lines.