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Memorandum for the President1
June 8, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Release of aircraft.
Tentative arrangements have been made to exchange 93 A-17-A Army airplanes (attack bombers). Bombs to make the airplanes immediately effective must be of our type. Two to three months would be required to re-work these planes to accommodate foreign type bombs. In order to supply bombs, it will be necessary to consider the bombs as an accessory of the airplane. Whether or not this can be legally sustained is questionable.
To furnish approximately one-fifteenth of the number of bombs desired by the Allied Purchasing Agent it will be necessary to release approximately one-seventh of our entire bomb stock in the two sizes required,—30 and 100 pound bombs. Additional bombs are under order, but the first deliveries will not be made for another six months.
In view of our shortage of bombs, I request your decision in the matter.2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), Foreign Sale or Exchange of Munitions File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Marshall wrote this document for Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring’s signature.
2. This memorandum was delivered to the White House by Major Walter B. Smith on June 8. An agreement signed on June 12, between the War Department and the Douglas Aircraft Company, transferred the ninety-three Northrup light bombers to the Allies in return for a credit allowance of $2,928,592 to be applied to the purchase of twenty Douglas A-20 “Havoc” bombers. The first group of Northrups were flown to Halifax, Nova Scotia, on June 21 and loaded on a British aircraft carrier. Marshall received permission to withdraw the army’s bomb commitment. The Navy supplied 5,908 bombs. (Arnold Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, June 12, 1940, NA/RG 165 [OCS, Foreign Sale or Exchange of Munitions File].)
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. 238-239.