811.20 Defense (M)/11780: Telegram

The Ambassador in China ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State

171. Embassy has gone thoroughly into the matter of obtaining additional materials for air transport in China (Department’s 83, January 18, 5 p.m.).

Wood oil is not available at points of air shipment and shortage of internal transport facilities precludes shipment in any quantity from concentration points (largely in Hunan and Szechuan) to airfields in vicinity of Kunming. Disinterested but fully informed Chinese advises against endeavoring to ship wood oil under present conditions stating that, in addition to internal transport difficulties, presently available facilities for preparing oil for export by air would prove unsatisfactory.

Antimony is available in ample quantities for export but here again internal transport is the problem for which there is no present practical solution. Transportation of antimony to Kunming would follow same general route as that used for wolfram. Bottleneck is trucking route from Chinchengkiang in Kwangsi to Kutsing in Yunnan. Chairman, Resources Commission, although desirous of furnishing antimony to us, states that, unfortunately until he can obtain more trucks, any antimony transported would displace wolfram. He has been advised that we do not wish to reduce the amount of wolfram now being transported.

The Embassy knows of no other usable materials readily available for transport by plane. The quantity of tin shipments might be increased to a maximum of a 1000 tons a month and if our present endeavors to obtain more trucks for wolfram are effectual we may be able to raise wolfram shipments closer 1000 tons a month. Hence we might, with the relatively limited quantities of bristles, silk and mercury which are available from time [to time?], be able to achieve something over 2000 tons a month. Until internal transport problem is solved (trucks are available but gasoline and equipment to keep them operating are very scarce) Embassy does not see how we can further materially increase quantity of materials for export by freight planes.