The Chargé in China ( Vincent ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 2:45 p.m.]
484. Reference Department’s 422, March 30, midnight.
- Substance of telegram has been communicated to Bond at Calcutta.
- With regard to query in Department’s paragraph 3, article 1 of the
contract between CNAC and the American Army SOS16 reads substantially as
- CNAC shall maintain and operate an air transport service between Kunming and Dinjan; (b) and Lend-Lease transport planes belonging to China and being operated by CNAC will be used “as well as all Lend-Lease transports which may in the future be allocated by the United States to the Government of China.” The three transports paid for by CNAC are excluded from the agreement. It is interesting to note following statement in the preamble to the contract: “…17 The Government of the United States of America has approved of the proposed action and officially communicated its approval to the Republic of China …” The contract was approved by the Minister of Communications on January 27 and by General Stilwell on February 17, the date on which it became legally effective, although the provisions of the contract have been in practical effect since last autumn.
- Following is the substance of a telegram received here March 28 from
Washington by Soong’s representative and communicated to Bond:
Chinese Government accepts Lend-Lease planes in Florida whereupon they pass from American to Chinese control, being then handed over to CNAC to fly to China. The planes are then under the control of the Generalissimo and are not in Stilwell’s jurisdiction. Two planes monthly beginning June and ending December have been allocated by Munitions Assignment[s] Board for use in interior of China. As already advised one of these planes is being sent in advance. War Department is not communicating with Stilwell inasmuch as use of these planes is for Chinese determination. Discussion of the matter with Stilwell or War Department not necessary. Does Army contract require that all Lend-Lease planes turned over by Chinese Government to CNAC at West Palm Beach be used on the Assam-China run? There should be no such provision although there may be one for the first 25 planes. Advise. Action in the matter by Bond should be under the Generalissimo and not under the American Army. Careful handling is required.
- I am in full sympathy with the objective of obtaining additional passenger planes for operation by CNAC in China and to Calcutta [Page 673] but I do not believe that any scheme which endeavors to ignore Stilwell’s wishes is on the long run, or even the short run, advisable. I should hope that Bond, who is in Calcutta, can arrange, as suggested by Department, with General Stilwell, who is in India, for the release of a few of the allocated Lend-Lease planes for use by CNAC in China on passenger service.