The Chargé in India (Merrell) to the Secretary of State
New Delhi, June 21, 1942—4 p.m.
[Received June 22—8:17 a.m.]
[Received June 22—8:17 a.m.]
406. For Currie from Ray.
- “1. After some discussion of program for handling China supplies in
- Service of supply staff under Wheeler20 will receive all cargo including Universal Trading, Foo Shing, National Resources Commission and Red Cross at Indian ports, unload, store, guard and forward them to Wheeler’s staff at Kunming for checking and transfer to appropriate Chinese authorities. Airforce responsibility will be plane operation only.
- Chinese Board with Chungking headquarters and representatives in India will determine import priorities.
- Wheeler will use maximum Indian facilities and labor under reverse Lend-Lease procedure with full support of Eric Dunn. Similar arrangements are contemplated in China. All necessary cash outlays will be made by Wheeler.
- Any available Chinese assistance within India will be accepted under Wheeler direction. This eliminates rigid defense supplies and China–Burma–[India] administration organizations as such in India.
- [Referring?] above program now [to?] Colonel [General] Stilwell for final approval is favored by Commissioner Shen21 and Shaughnessy and myself as Wheeler organization commands universal confidence.
- 2. Summary of Air Ferry plans.
- Pending Wheeler contract puts 5 of 13 China National Airways planes on regular eastward freight service supplementing 28 Army transports. Combined capacity with three trips weekly is 200 tons weekly. During monsoon season entire space believed required to supply expanding American tactical units in China. See current Wheeler cable to Somervell22 on China ward delivery possibilities.
- Naiden23 expects to procure 17 additional freighters in July and plans to equalize equipment of Assam–Burma–China Ferry Command operating Dinjan to Kunming with equipment of trans-India Ferry Command operating Karachi to Dinjan which has heretofore monopolized available equipment. Over latter sector railroad service is slow but good.
- Naiden disapproves four engined freighters for high altitude service as they would require superchargers which he mistrusts technically.
- Wheeler is directing construction of second Assam airfield at Chabui near Dinjan scheduled for completion by Royal Engineers under reverse Lend-Lease about mid-July. Third Assam airfield scheduled for November completion.
- Naiden wants to accredit additional airfields near Kunming to balance Assam layout. Shen reports Chinese hesitancy pending military developments in Yunnan since either Japanese advance or retreat would make additional Kunming airfields unnecessary. Both agree re conquest of Northern Burma desirable.
- Naiden considers alternate route via Peshawar, Kashgar and Kashmir to Chengtu completely impossible as gasoline cannot be supplied to six stations required.
- 3. Aircraft maintenance plans.
- Adler24 is arranging to take over Bangalore factory for limited manufacture and full maintenance repair and overhaul work on all American made planes in this area regardless of ownership. This plan under reverse Lend-Lease leaves unaffected the Indian Government contract with Pawley25 but provides that we retain title to equipment and supplies added by the Army. And therefore will supply additional mechanics.
- Adler is also organizing an army air base unit at Agra and thinks a small advance maintenance unit may eventually be needed in China.
- 4. Miscellaneous.
- Wheeler is not being informed of Lend-Lease shipments for India account. I recommend he be provided information copies shipping lists in view his activity in reverse operations in India.
- I have found no accurate tally of China cargo in India. Shen and Shaughnessy agree on overall estimate of 45,000 tons.
- Shaughnessy is preparing report on aviation gasoline controls in India. Supplies to date appear adequate but all from vulnerable [sic] Abadan.
- I plan to investigate Delhi reports that China medical supply problem is mainly distribution not shortage. None being forwarded from India now.
- Am proceeding Assam today and may visit Calcutta before Chungking.”
- Brig. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler, Commanding General of the Services of Supply in China, Burma, and India.↩
- Shen Shih-hua, Chinese Commissioner in India.↩
- Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, Commanding General, United States Services of Supply.↩
- Brig. Gen. Earl L. Naiden, Chief of Staff, U. S. Tenth Air Force.↩
- Brig. Gen. Elmer E. Adler, Commanding Officer, Tenth Air Force Service Command.↩
- William D. Pawley, President, Intercontinent Corporation.↩