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Memorandum for General Arnold
March 28, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
The Secretary of War had two things up yesterday:
His first question was how far you had progressed in making arrangements for your trip to England.1
The second matter related to General Clagett’s prospective visit to China. He approved the idea of General Clagett, and I will leave it to you to prepare the directive to Clagett. Mr. Currie (the official who reported the Chinese desire to have a high ranking Air Corps official visit there) stated there were three things the Chinese thought might be accomplished by this visit:2
1. The officer could determine for himself the efficiency of the Chinese Air Force, from the viewpoint of its possible cooperation with us if we became involved in this war.
2. The officer could inform himself as to the adequacy of the new air fields to be constructed.
3. The officer could inform himself as to the fighting tactics and characteristics of the Japanese Air Force, from what has been learned by the Chinese Aviation Corps.
The visit would have an important psychological effect in that it would indicate to the Chinese that they were being considered as potential allies rather than beggars at the rich man’s table. (This last phrase is mine)
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 chief of the Air Corps began his visit in London on April 12, 1941. His account of the trip is in Global Mission (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1949), pp. 215-40.
2. Stimson discussed the China situation with Lauchlin Currie, presidential administrative assistant, who had recently returned from that nation. Currie had inspected the new Soviet built Chinese bombers and was “impressed with the efficiency of the Chinese factories for munitions.” Currie presented Chiang Kai-shek’s request for an air force adviser. After approving Brigadier General Henry B. Clagett (U.S.M.A., 1906), Stimson also talked to Arnold about aircraft and pilots for China. (March 27, 1941, Yale/ H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 33: 120-22].)
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. 458-459,