The Secretary of State to the Minister in Sweden (Johnson)

No. 897

Sir: The War Department has informed the Department that a review of the requirements for heavy bomber aircraft indicates that by June 1945 the Army Air Forces will be confronted with a shortage of this type of aircraft in combat theaters. The War Department therefore intends to explore every available source to alleviate this situation.

According to records of the United States Army Air Forces, 131 American Army aircraft were interned in Sweden as of January 1, 1945. Of this number, nine have been loaned to the Swedish Government and are being used by AB Aereotransport.72 Your former Military Attaché for Air, Lt. Colonel Hardison, has informed the War Department that, including airplanes which have been loaned to the [Page 757]Swedish Government, there are from 85 to 86 serviceable United States military aircraft in Sweden. The majority of these interned aircraft are of the heavy bomber type. Further information available to the War Department indicates that more of the interned aircraft will become serviceable as a result of the work being accomplished by interned American airmen with assistance from the Royal Swedish Air Force and engineering personnel from AB Aereotransport.

In view of the above factors, the War Department has requested the Department to instruct you to initiate negotiations with the Swedish Government to obtain the release of all serviceable United States military aircraft except those currently on loan to the Swedish Government. Disposition of aircraft, salvaged spare parts and parts of aircraft that are not repairable will be made by the Foreign Economic Administration.

You are requested to discuss the aforementioned matter with your Military Attaché73 and Mr. Hugh S. Cumming, Jr.,74 of the Department, who is proceeding to Stockholm to assist you in the negotiation of an agreement with the Swedish Government regarding the establishment of Air Transport Command services,75 and to present the proposal for the repair and release of the interned aircraft in such a manner and at such a time as you consider to be desirable. In this latter connection you are informed that the War Department considers the release of the interned aircraft to be of extreme importance and hence the matter should not be minimized by the Air Transport Command negotiations.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
James C. Dunn
  1. Swedish national air line.
  2. Brig. Gen. Alfred A. Kessler, United States Military Attaché and Attaché for Air.
  3. Chief of the Division of Northern European Affairs.
  4. For documentation regarding the Military Air Transport Agreement between the United States and Sweden effected by exchange of notes dated March 12, 1945, see pp. 747 ff.