121.5593/9–448: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State

1624. We have been giving further thought to question of assignment of Attaché aircraft to Air Division, AAG, as suggested by General Thomas, Chief Air Division, AAG, and Military and Naval and Air Attachés.35 We have decided to adhere to our original recommendation that those aircraft continue in present status assigned to the Naval and Air Attachés. Chinese are aware of intelligence function of Attachés and transfer planes to AAG would create suspicion among Chinese of AAG participation intelligence activities. Also in event planes were assigned to AAG and AAG were dissolved it might prove difficult to secure agreement from Chinese to reallocate planes to Embassy.

Some of current difficulties with Chinese over operation Air Attaché aircraft apparently stems from fact of Air Attachés’ use of B–17 converted combat type plane despite previous Chinese concurrence in use this particular plane. Difficulties have also arisen from fact that Chinese Air Force has failed to provide in writing procedures for clearance Attaché aircraft on intra-Chinese flights. Substitution of commercial type aircraft with same performance characteristics as B–17 currently unfeasible because such planes now in short supply. Chinese Air Force has promised Air Attaché to clarify and codify clearance procedures so that difficulties stemming therefrom should soon be reduced. Also Ministry National Defense and Foregin Office are in process developing regulations governing use Attaché aircraft in China. In this connection would appreciate Department’s sending us soonest possible regulations on use aircraft by foreign Military and other Attachés.

  1. Brig. Gen. Robert H. Soule, Capt. Samuel B. Frankel, and Lt. Col. A. T. House, Jr., respectively.