Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Stanton)24a

Participants: Mr. J. D. Walstrom, IN
Mr. G. S. Roper, IN
Mr. Stanton, FE

The problem of arranging for the allocation of five airplanes to the China National Aviation Corporation was discussed at some length. It was agreed that in view of the fact that the Munitions Assignment[s] Committee (air) had again disapproved the request for these planes and that General Arnold in a recent letter made it plain that there would be no additional planes available to CNAC for a long time, there is little hope of moving the military in this matter. Mr. Walstrom stated that in view of these developments and with the approval of Mr. Berle IN was drafting a memorandum which is to be presented to the President on the general problem of allocation of a few planes for the maintenance of essential civilian air services in various parts of the world. In this connection he mentioned that the situation in South America was very acute. Mr. Stanton inquired whether specific cases would be mentioned including the case of CNAC. Mr. Walstrom replied that in as much as the memorandum had to be limited to one page it would not be possible to mention specific cases. Mr. Stanton suggested that geographical areas, including China, be mentioned. Mr. Walstrom said he thought that the memorandum could be drafted along such lines and that a copy of the draft would be sent to us for our information and comment. He said that the memorandum would suggest to the President that one or two transport planes be allocated each month from the assembly lines in the United States for the specific purpose of meeting this situation which the State Department feels is of real importance. It would be further suggested that the disposition of such planes be placed directly under the control of the State Department rather than our military authorities.

There was also some discussion regarding the possibility at this juncture of taking up with the Chinese the question of participation [Page 685] in a multilateral aviation agreement which would provide for landing rights in Chinese territories and for related matters. It was felt however that until some preliminary and exploratory discussions had been instituted with the British and Russians no useful purpose would be served in approaching the Chinese.

  1. Initialed by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Ballantine).