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Memorandum for General Arnold
February 14, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
There was taken up with an American observer of importance in London, by the British authorities, their desire to see if they could not find several accommodations in the United States:
First: They would like to locate from 100 to 150 trained pilots, presumably Reserve Officers, who could ferry planes to England from Canada, and then do ferrying work in England from factory to fields, no combat. This would release just that many British experienced pilots and also would give some of our people a closer-up experience than we are now getting. I assume that if such an arrangement were made, it would have to be on the basis of a Reserve officer not on active duty, or that the Reserve officer would have to resign his commission, we undertaking the promise of re-commissioning him at the end of the work. The British would pay, I believe, about $150 a week.
Second: They are very anxious to know if we might not be able to drum up some experienced men to contribute to the operation of our type of 4-engined bombers. I believe this was on the basis of actual combat operations. If we found some volunteers from the Reserve Corps who would like to try this, might we not relieve them from active duty and allow them to make their own arrangements with the British. The understanding here would be, I assume, that they could expect these men would receive favorable treatment by us on being re-commissioned.
Third: They brought up again the question of the training of their pilots in this country, under the more favorable climatic conditions of the South. I think you had this up with them before, but now the matter is reaching such a state I think we ought to entertain the proposition very seriously. I assume it would have to be done by the expansion of the several schools and we would confine it, at first at least, to the preliminary flying. Then they might pass into Canada for their basic training, or it may be that a portion of the basic training might be managed in this country.
Look into all this and see what might be done, and talk with me personally before you commit yourself to a formal report.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. The American observer was presidential representative Harry L. Hopkins. The British had long sought such assistance. On September 24, 1940, Arthur B. Purvis, director of the British Purchasing Commission in the United States, outlined a plan to Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau for the training of four thousand British or Canadian pilots a year. Flight training, except for combat subjects, would be done at civilian schools. Britain had to pay the capital costs, training pay, and provide training equipment. (H. Duncan Hall, North American Supply, a volume in the History of the Second World War [London: HMSO and Longmans, Green, and Co., 1955], p. 194; on Hopkins’s recommendations, see Memorandum for General Arnold, February 27, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-379 [2: 433].)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 422-423,