Memorandum by Mr. Alger Hiss, Assistant to the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck), of a Conversation With Mr. J. Franklin Ray, Jr., of the Lend-Lease Administration
Reference is made to Mr. Hornbeck’s memorandum of March 25 concerning information imparted to him by Sir George Sansom with respect to a request by the Chinese to the British Government for transport planes.
Mr. Ray said that Mr. Hornbeck had recently raised the question as to whether there are arrangements by which the British Government has agreed that it will not supply military equipment to China without the consent of the United States Government.[Page 671]
Mr. Ray said that he had made inquiry among responsible officials of the Munitions Assignments Board and that he had been informed that there is an arrangement between the United States and Great Britain whereby all Chinese requests made to the British Government for military supplies are referred to the Munitions Assignments Board accompanied by a statement as to whether the British are in position to supply the requested materials and a recommendation by the British Government as to the disposition to be made of the request. Under this arrangement it is understood that final action on such requests is to be taken by the Munitions Assignments Board.
Mr. Ray went on to say that he had been informed that Mr. Eden15 brought over with him the request which the Chinese had made for transport planes and that this request had been turned down by the Munitions Assignments Board with General Marshall’s concurrence.
Mr. Ray said that he had been informed that there was no formal agreement concerning the above arrangement but that he had been assured that the arrangement is in effect and that under it the decision of the Munitions Assignments Board is final. In this connection he said that he was also informed that under the arrangement the Munitions Assignments Board may initiate procurement of supplies for China in England. In answer to his question as to whether any such cases had occurred he was told that his informant did not recall any.
Mr. Ray said that apparently the information which he had received was not regarded as confidential but he said that since he had no responsibility in this province but had merely obtained information which he believed to be accurate he preferred that the information not be attributed to him in any use which the Department might make of it.
Mr. Ray further said that he has been informed by China Defense Supplies that the next step which the Chinese plan to take with respect to their desire to obtain transport planes from the United States is to have Dr. T. V. Soong call upon General Marshall and ask General Marshall if he will inform General Stilwell that it is the right and privilege of the Chinese Government to use as that Government deems best, equipment which is allocated to them by the United States Government. Mr. Ray said that C. D. S. means to distinguish between equipment definitely assigned to Stilwell for operations under his direction and equipment which is asked for by the Chinese Government for other uses than the operations being conducted under General Stilwell.
- Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Aflairs.↩