811.20 Defense (M)/12314: Telegram

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

306. Reference Department’s 79, January 15 [16], 1 p.m. Total priority cargo listed 1,170 tons per month including 300 tons of tin for Russia and 200 tons for Metals Reserve. United States Army Air Command has notified the National Resources Commission that the Yangkai air field, which was opened on February 14 with a daily loading capacity of 200 tons, would have a daily loading capacity [Page 650] of 400 tons beginning March 1 while Kunming field would continue operations at previous levels.

The National Resources Commission has, at the Embassy’s suggestion, now obtained an order from the Ministry of Communications granting its shipments of strategic materials priority in internal transport over all other goods except military supplies. Commission now hopes to obtain use of a few hundred private trucks now operating over Kwangsi, Kweichow and Yunnan highways but anticipate delays and difficulties. National Resources Commission does not expect to be able to do more than double its present rate of delivery of 1,000 tons per month, leaving a possible 11,000 tons per month unoccupied except in so far as filler cargo in the form of tea and wood oil can be provided at Kunming. The Russians are willing to accept ordinary grade Yunnan tin without further refining and large supplies of such tin are already available at Kunming. Tin of a grade acceptable by Metals Reserve is only available at Kunming in relatively small quantities. As a temporary measure it is recommended that the 300 tons per month limit on tin for Russia be removed and permission given to use Yunnan grade tin for Russia as filler cargo.

Internal transport problem reported in my 171, January 30, noon, still blocking delivery at Yangkai of 7,000 tons of wolfram, 3,000 tons of antimony and 6,000 tons of high grade tin now concentrated at Kweilin, Liuchow and Chinchengkiang in northern Kwangsi (all within easy reach of Liuchow air field if air transport from that point later becomes available).

As soon as estimates can be obtained of the probable extent of increased deliveries at Yangkai, the Department will be informed.