The Under Secretary of State (Acheson) to the Administrator of the Surplus Property Administration (Symington)

My Dear Mr. Symington: For some time this Government has been interested in the Civil Pilot Training School at Puebla, Mexico, and we have heretofore made the necessary equipment available to the Mexican Government under Lend Lease. Through the Civil Aeronautics Administration this Government has also made available the services of three instructors without cost to the Mexican Government.

The work done by the school has, in the opinion of the Department, been of excellent character and inestimable value toward the strengthening of good relations and increasing understanding between the two nations. Both the Department and the Mexican Government are anxious to expand the school to include secondary advanced training of civilian pilots, and I believe such expansion would be distinctly to our advantage.

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If the school is to continue its good work, it is vitally necessary that replacements and additional equipment be made available, and I very much hope that we will be able to find some means whereby this may be accomplished. In so doing I feel we should take into account the considerations and advantages which will result to the United States, and I cannot emphasize too greatly my feeling of the necessity for our Government to keep this project going in Mexico. The school affords us an opportunity to train civilian pilots in American technique and with American equipment. If we do not continue to do so, it is highly probable that some other government will take advantage of the opportunity.

The aircraft which the school will need in order to function properly are:

  • 10 PT type aircraft
  • 10 BT 13A aircraft
  • 3 AT 7 or 11’s
  • 2 Link Trainers

It is my understanding that aircraft of this type are in plentiful supply and a large number thereof have been declared surplus. Will you therefore please let me know whether we can make this aircraft available, and if so, the minimum price at which we can turn it over to the Mexican Government.

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson

[In a letter dated December 4, 1945, not printed, Stuart Symington assured the Under Secretary that the total cost to the Mexican Government of the 25 units requested “would be but a very small portion of the original cost to the government.” (812.796/12–445)

Efforts by the American Embassy in Mexico to negotiate a formal agreement for the operation and expansion of the CAA-sponsored pilot training school at Puebla continued through 1946 and 1947 without success. In October 1946, five PT–26 aircraft were acquired by the training school from U.S. surplus stock at a total cost of $5,000. However, with exception of the period from August to December 1946, the school was inactive from December 1945 until June 1947, and in December 1947 the Department approved a recommendation from the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Commerce Department that the assignment of the three CAA technicians at the flight school be terminated.]