893.50 Recovery/10–2548

The Secretary of the Air Force (Symington) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: In reply to your letter of 3 September 1948,9 concerning the loan of 10,000,000 gallons or 238,000 barrels of aviation gasoline to the Chinese Air Force, negotiations have been in progress with members of your Department, Department of Commerce and the oil companies operating in China concerning this matter.

Because of the strike in West Coast refineries of the United States and the limited supplies of aviation gasoline available to the U. S. Air Force, we have been hesitant to make any commitment regarding U. S. Air Force stocks without first exhausting other possible means of supply.

The commercial oil companies, also seriously affected by this strike and a tight world-wide situation on aviation gasoline, have advised that only by pooling their stocks in China for use of all essential consumers can they render any immediate assistance. It is estimated that these stocks will be sufficient for consumption for the month of October, and perhaps the early part of November only, depending upon the firmness of the Chinese Air Force estimates of 59,500 barrels per month.

To augment this arrangement which the oil companies have agreed to, we are sending 130,000 barrels from Air Force contracts to Shanghai to arrive approximately 5 November 1948. In the interim, arrangements have been made with Commander-in-Chief, Far East, Tokyo, Japan, to ship 30,000 barrels of aviation gasoline from Japan to Tientsin, China, to arrive approximately 18 October 1948. This action should considerably relieve critical situation in North China.

The Chinese Air Force has been advised by separate communication of the above arrangements, and funds were requested and received through your Department from the Chinese to cover the costs of this project.

We are keeping apprised of the Chinese situation and will continue to render assistance insofar as possible.

Sincerely yours,

Stuart Symington
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