The Acting Secretary of War (Patterson) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to your letter of 19 July 1945 in connection with the Department of State’s Top Secret Telegram No. 2947 of 13 July79 concerning the proposed construction of an airport at Rome.

During the period from February through June of this year, the Air Transport Command averaged 53.7 landings per day at the Ciampino airport near Rome, with a peak load of 111 landings on one day in May. It is estimated, however, that Air Transport Command traffic at Rome, after redeployment and during the period in which U. S. occupation forces will be stationed in Europe, will decrease to approximately 20 landings per day, exclusive of any incidental or transient U. S. military traffic not a part of Air Transport Command operations. With full regard for the acknowledged inadequacy of the Ciampino airport for extensive operations and the desirability of a more suitable airport, it is therefore believed that the anticipated decrease in U. S. military air traffic at Rome makes the expenditure of War Department funds or resources for construction of a new airport at Rome impossible of justification on the grounds of military necessity. It is the policy of the War Department, in the interest of national defense, to take reasonable steps to insure the welfare of U. S. civil aviation. Nevertheless, it is considered that the employment of military funds or resources for building an airport at Rome would require specific approval of the President as being in the national interest. Accordingly, it is suggested that this matter might appropriately be referred to the Air Coordinating Committee.

Sincerely yours,

Robert P. Patterson
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