ONLINE CATALOG SEARCH
Memorandum for Mr. Knudsen
December 11, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Confidentially, I am growing increasingly disturbed over the slow delivery rate for combat planes to the Army. The situation during November is fairly typical. The original schedule contemplated the delivery of 94 tactical planes for that month. The estimates the first week in November predicted 33 deliveries to the Army, and 406 tactical planes for export. I now find that only six tactical planes reached us in that month.1
Without implying criticism of the present efforts of the Aircraft industry, I must say that I am not satisfied with the status of the airplane production at present available to the Army, nor the character of the estimates for future deliveries. I am aware of a number of reasons for difference between estimated and actual deliveries, but even so this does not remove my apprehension in the matter.
Part of the responsibility for production rests with the Army, particularly that relating to design, and it is the recognized duty of the War Department to contribute in every possible way to the success of your efforts to increase production.
In view of the situation, I would like very much to have your ideas as to how our cooperation might be made more effective.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. British Air-Commodore Slessor, who had recently been designated a British representative to the forthcoming joint staff conferences to begin in late January 1941, commented on Marshall’s observation to him of the discrepancy between the number of planes delivered to the Army Air corps and to the Royal Air Force. “General Marshall told me for instance that in November only six new aircraft were delivered to the U.S.A.F., the remainder, amounting to some three hundred, being allocated to the British—a situation of which the consequences, if they were to become publicly known, might have been extremely awkward for him and Mr. Stimson.” (Slessor, Central Blue, p. 325.)
2. No written reply from Knudsen has been found in the Marshall papers.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 369-370.