The Chargé in China (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State
[Received 5:48 p.m.]
1410. 1. We are informed on good authority that developments in connection with CNAC’s endeavors to obtain 5 transport planes for interior communication have recently occurred as follows:
- On June 18 General Mow telegraphed from Washington to Aviation Commission here that 5 specified planes for interior communication had been allocated by U.S. Army and that these planes were to be “first assigned to this commission”; Aviation Commission July 7 notified CNAC in regard to this telegram.
- American Army authorities in India notified CNAC July 15 that telegram had been received from the Commanding General Air Transport Command, Washington on July 12 enumerating 5 planes for CNAC delivered in India bearing the same serial numbers as those listed in Mow’s telegram to Aviation Commission.
- CNAC [cable to?] Soong July 27 quoted above July 15 message, stated delivery of the planes had been taken by Aviation Commission and requested Dr. Soong “to advise”. Operations manager also telegraphed this info to Commanding General ATC and suggested latter issue orders that the planes be turned over to CNAC. No reply to these messages has been received.
- CNAC received official notice August 2 that the 5 planes were, by order of the Gmo,22 to be operated by Aviation Commission.
2. CNAC now has only these [three?] planes for maintenance ordinary communication week [with?] India and interior communication in unoccupied China. According to informant, CNAC expected that the 5 planes allotted for such communications would [be] turned over to CNAC to operate, and CNAC’s endeavors to obtain these planes, together with its contribution to the war effort and its reputation, probably had much to do with the making of the allocation.
3. Persons conversant with the situation state that Aviation Commission now operates 2 planes on interior routes but does not have enough qualified pilots for 5 more, and that despite gas shortage Commission is feverishly training pilots for these planes. It is doubtful whether it can operate them to capacity or to produce the benefit to the war effort which could be derived from operation by CNAC, not to mention greater risk of loss by accident.
Also, there is reported possibility of turning over some of new planes to Central Aircraft Transport Co., formerly Eurasia, which now operates only one old German plane. Latter have long cultivated influential friends by methods assertedly not used by CNAC and also have some strength because wholly Chinese while CNAC is Sino-foreign. (Former German connection is allegedly entirely ended.)
Apart from fact that CNAC could employ these planes much more effectively than CATC in the war effort, there would seem also to have arisen the question of the undesirability of having Lend-Lease planes used by Chinese interests to compete with established American interests.
4. Please inform Bond.
- Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.↩