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CHAR 2/228/1

Letter from Sir Abe Bailey, Grand Hotel, Bagnoles de l'Orne, France, to WSC, praising his speech on the Air Force, and commenting on Germany, and the international situation.

1 folio
16 Jul 1934
CHAR 2/228/2-3

House of Commons Amendment to the Address representing that the strength of British Air defences was "no longer adequate to secure the peace, safety and freedom of Your Majesty's faithful subjects" signed by WSC, Sir Robert Horne, Leo Amery, Frederick Guest, Lord Winterton and Robert Boothby [typescript copy, with handwritten annotations].

2 folios
[Nov] [1934]
CHAR 2/228/4

Letter from WSC to Air Commodore Peregrine Fellowes, thanks for letter on the Royal Air Force [carbon].

1 folio
24 Jul 1934
CHAR 2/228/5-6

Letter from Air Commodore Peregrine Fellowes, Chester Street, London SW1 to WSC, on forthcoming debate in the House of Commons on the Air Estimates. Asking for meeting to discuss the state of the RAF [signature cut out, with covering note from Violet Pearman].

2 folios
21 Jul 1934
CHAR 2/228/7-15

Letter from Air Commodore Peregrine Fellowes, Chester Street, London SW1 to WSC, on the state of civil and military aviation and the RAF. Complaining that British aviation had been in the hands of a "non flying ring", complaining that the Air Council and most of the senior officers in the RAF had not flown as pilots for many years. Stating that there was dissatisfaction in junior ranks because of the "practical ignorance" of their seniors. Praising the efforts of the Secretary of State for Air, Lord Londonderry for trying to raise the standard by personal example, but stating that he could not succeed without strong public backing, enclosing 6p typescript memorandum "Notes on the Air Situation".

9 folios
26 Jul 1934
CHAR 2/228/16

Letter from Sir Abe Bailey, Bryanston Square, London, W1 to WSC, congratulations on "air speech", defending the Government's decision to increase the size of the RAF, in the House of Commons, also praising Stanley Baldwin's speech in the same debate.

1 folio
31 Jul 1934
CHAR 2/228/17-18

Letter from Lord Rothermere, Burghfield House, Dornoch, Sutherland, to WSC, on his speech in air debate in the House of Commons. Asking where he obtained the information that Germany would only have "a few hundred aeroplanes" by the end of 1935. Stating that his information was that they would have a force of around 20,000 aircraft by that date "Is everybody in this country blind?".

2 folios
01 Aug 1934
CHAR 2/228/19-22

Letter from WSC to Lord Rothermere, on his sources of information for the size of the German air force. Stating that he believed that the Germans had a regular military air force, in violation of the treaty, of 300 aircraft, against Britain's home defence force of 350 aircraft, and that the Germans were increasing this total to 500 by the end of 1935. These figures took no account of German civil aviation, which was five times the size of Britain's, a large part of which was rapidly convertible into war machines. Stating that Rothermere's figure of 20,000 for the German air force could have no reality. Commenting that he felt it best to err on the side of under-statement, and that his figures could be increased later, "without any reproach". Stating that he intended to do his utmost in this matter, and that he was certain that they could "extort more vigorous action from the Government. Whether it will be to little or too late is a matter upon which I am glad not to have the responsibility. I feel a deep and increasing sense of anxiety" Also commenting on the work of the India Defence League, and the need for around £2000 for the league to continue until the Spring of 1935 [carbon].

2 folios
06 Aug 1934
CHAR 2/228/23

Letter from Lord Rothermere, Burghfield House, Dornoch, Sutherland to WSC, on the size of the German air force. Confirming that his sources had stated that German air preparations far exceeded anything accomplished by any of the belligerents during the War, and that within two months the Junkers Works at Dessau would be as large as the Bethlehem Steel Works in Pennsylvania and three times as large as the Fords Works at Dagenham. Stating that pilots were being "trained by the thousand", and that by the summer of 1935 there would be nothing to prevent the Germans "throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of Europe" [typescript with a handwritten postscript "before the end of 1940 Hitler with his air fleets will have swept away half of the Governments of Europe"].

1 folio
10 Aug 1934
CHAR 2/228/24

Letter from Lord Rothermere, Burghfield House, Dornoch, Sutherland, to WSC, asking if the publication of his supposition that Germany had between 10,000 and 20,000 aircraft would lay WSC open to "grave criticism". Stating that all of his information "corroborates my belief that Germany is building aeroplanes in series just like sewing machines or motor cars. We are not an air minded people and quite fail to comprehend that there is very little difference between the manufacture of an aeroplane and a first class motor car".

1 folio
11 Aug 1934
CHAR 2/228/25

Letter from WSC to Lord Rothermere, on the size of the German air force. Stating that his figure of 500 aircraft related purely to military aircraft and did not take into account conversion from civil aviation. Hoping that Rothermere would publish his information in the Daily Mail. "Even at my figures, which I gather the Government do not dispute, the prospect is most alarming, and their measures hopelessly inefficient" [carbon].

1 folio
14 Aug 1934
CHAR 2/228/26-29

Letter from Desmond Morton, Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1 to WSC, thanks for showing him correspondence with Lord Rothermere on the size of the German air force. Stating that WSC's "informant's" figures of a first line strength of 500 aircraft was correct. Also stating that Rothermere was perfectly correct in saying that Germany was building aircraft in series, and that there was little difference between building an aeroplane and a first-class motor car, but that the output of the Rolls Royce factory was less than one per day, "as opposed to Nuffield's 100 or more" [in the Morris factory at Cowley, Oxford]. Suggesting that Rothermere's figure of 20,000 aircraft have been confused with the estimate of the German aircraft industry, which was between 10,000 - 20,000 aircraft a year, but most of these would be useless for military purposes. Stating that he had heard rumours that Germany hoped to attain a first-line air strength of between 1500 and 1800 aircraft within five years, twice the size of Britain's Home Air Force. Also confirming that Rothermere was correct in stating that the Junkers works at Dessau were very large, and growing larger, but that it seemed meaningless to compare it with the size of works belonging to other industries.

4 folios
17 Aug 1934
CHAR 2/228/30

Note from WSC to [ ], asking when Ramsay Macdonald had promised him the Committee on Air Defence [handwritten on an envelope. The Air Defence Research Committee was established in 1935, with WSC as a member].

1 folio
c 1934
CHAR 2/228/31-33

Letter from WSC to David Margesson, Government Chief Whip, sending House of Commons Amendment to the Address representing that the strength of British Air defences was "no longer adequate to secure the peace, safety and freedom of Your Majesty's faithful subjects" signed by WSC, Sir Robert Horne, Leo Amery, Frederick Guest, Lord Winterton and Robert Boothby.

3 folios
18 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/34

Letter from H A Gwynne, The Morning Post, London, to WSC, on his Amendment to the Address on the inadequacy of Britain's air defence. Stating that it was very unfair that the Labour Party should be allowed to pose as pacifists when the question of building of defences was discussed. Suggesting that he "call their bluff", and ask them directly "Are you in favour of Hitler and all he stands for, or are you not? If you are not, then you must support my Amendment. If you are, then have the courage to tell the country so.".

1 folio
20 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/35

Letter from Desmond Morton to WSC, on the radius of action of Germany's new bomber, and on Archambaud's Statement on the French Chamber of Deputies on the number of pilots in Germany.

1 folio
20 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/36

Letter from Desmond Morton to WSC, on statement by the French Air Minister, Victor Denain, in which he claimed that the Germans had 1100 aircraft capable of immediate use or rapid conversion as service aircraft, and between 3500 and 4000 fully qualified pilots. His own estimate was slightly lower at 1000 military aircraft and over 3000 pilots.

1 folio
22 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/37

Letter from F A Lindemann (later Lord Cherwell) to WSC, sending notes on defensive measures, hoping that he would be able to use them in a speech. With note by his Private Secretary, Violet Pearman that the notes were in his "Air Material" speech box.

1 folio
21 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/38

Letter from Violet Pearman, PS to WSC to Major Desmond Morton, forwarding note in Spanish, asking if it would be of any use for WSC's forthcoming speech [carbon].

1 folio
21 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/39

Letter from WSC to David Lloyd George, confirming that he had sent him a copy of precis he had given to Stanley Baldwin for the Air debate, mentioning that he had done the same for LLG before debate in Secret Session in 1917. Hoping that he would come to lunch to discuss the air situation, commenting that his Amendment to the Address had caused much disturbance in Government circles [carbon].

1 folio
24 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/40

Letter from Violet Pearman, PS to WSC to Major Desmond Morton, forwarding letter from Austria. Asking if it had any significance.

1 folio
24 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/41

Letter from F A Lindemann, (later Lord Cherwell), Christ Church, Oxford, to WSC, commenting on letter from Michael von Saint-Obyn (CHAR 2/228/42-43). Stating that there was not much in it, that gas turbines were not a new idea, but that so far it had proved impossible to make a reliable engine as the high temperature of the exploded gas destroyed the blades of the turbine. Also that magnesium alloys were already in use, and that the Germans had no "great surprises up their sleeve as to the quality of their material. As to the quantity I am less confident. Unfortunately no improvement on quality is needed to enable bombing aeroplanes to dominate England if available in sufficient quantities.

1 folio
25 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/42-43

Letter from Michael von Saint-Obyn, Newport, Kentucky, United States to WSC, on German air expansion. Stating that the Germans were "working feverishly" to bring out a more formidable military aircraft, powered by a gas turbine engine. Also on their use of light magnesium alloys for the instruction of aircraft and weapons. "The next war will be decided in the air but it will not be done by the number of planes engaged, but by the size, speed, and silence of those in operation".

2 folios
03 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/44

Letter from Desmond Morton to WSC, commenting on abusive anonymous letter from "An Austrian but a German" [CHAR 2/228/45-46].

1 folio
26 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/45-46

Letter from "An Austrian but a German" to WSC, stating that in his broadcast WSC mentioned that there were 70 million Germans who had been taught in school that there was nothing more lovely than to die in battle. Urging him to remember that he had understated the case as there were 6 million Austrians who felt the same about it, with covering note from Violet Pearman to Desmond Morton.

2 folios
18 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/47

Letter from Lord Winterton, Eccleston Square, London SW1 to WSC, stating that he had been told "on high authority" that the Government were going to announce that they would "concertina" the five year RAF expansion into two years. Suggesting that a shorter period and a greater extension was necessary.

1 folio
28 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/48-51

Letter from Desmond Morton, Beaufort Gardens, London SW3 to WSC, congratulations on "masterly" speech in the Air debate in the House of Commons. Expressing relief that Stanley Baldwin had pledged not to allow the strength of the RAF to fall below that of Germany. Commenting on Baldwin's statements on the relative strength of the two air forces.

4 folios
29 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/52

Letter from Colin Coote, The Times, to WSC, congratulations on speech on defence in the House of Commons. Commenting on the absence of any official comment on German dual-purpose aircraft, stating that he disliked the easy assumption that it took months to turn a civilian pilot into a military one "the professional bunkum to which regular officers are all too prone". Stating that during the War he used to be told that it took months to make a machine gunner "but in point of fact anyone of average intelligence could become efficient in that branch of the Service in a few hours".

1 folio
29 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/53

Letter from WSC to Colin Coote, The Times, commenting on the Air Debate in the House of Commons, particularly the anxiety of the Government to classify the 127 territorial Air Force machines with the best front line aircraft. Commenting that these were the oldest, had no reserves, and only weekend pilots. [carbon].

1 folio
03 Dec 1934
CHAR 2/228/54

Letter from Violet Pearman, PS to WSC to Michael von Saint Obyn, thanks for letter on German re-armament [carbon].

1 folio
30 Nov 1934
CHAR 2/228/55

Letter from Francis Bertram, Air Ministry, to WSC, on figures for Pilots' licenses issued in Britain. Stating that 7355 licences had been issued since 1919, and that the increase on the last year had been 1200. There were 2922 current private licences and 512 "public transport". Also stating that the reason why so many pilots did not keep their licence current was entirely financial, as the cost of flying at a club was 2l 10s per hour.

1 folio
06 Dec 1934
CHAR 2/228/56-57

Letter from F A Lindemann, (later Lord Cherwell), Christ Church, Oxford, to WSC, commenting on letter from a Mr Pollock [which has not survived]. Stating that Pollock's ideas for "aerial sentries" were well intentioned, but that there were many practical difficulties. Also stating that he had ideas for locating aircraft without sound, which would be worth exploring, and that he hoped that Britain would not be compelled to rely on fighters picking up and destroying enemy bombers. Although Pollock's scheme had difficulties, Lindemann cordially endorsed his claim that investigation and research was urgently required, and that it was "criminal" to neglect it. Also commenting on press speculation that France "disgusted at their inability to secure anything definite from London were making a deal with Germany at Britain's expense. "It is madness to trust the theory that the French and the Germans will never agree". Stating that he would not be surprised if in the next few months Germany presented a demand for the return of her Colonies, which might be given diplomatic support by France.

2 folios
09 Dec 1934
CHAR 2/228/58

Letter from Violet Pearman, PS to WSC to Major Desmond Morton, forwarding letter, asking for comment [carbon].

1 folio
10 Dec 1934
CHAR 2/228/59

Letter from Major Desmond Morton, Queen Anne's gate, London SW1 to WSC, thanks for showing him letter from the Air Ministry [CHAR 2/228/55], on the number of current Pilots licences in Britain. Stating that the important paragraph was the third, showing that Britain had between 3500 and 4000 pilots, roughly the same number as French estimates of German pilots. Also commenting on WSC's great personal triumph on India in the House of Commons [on 12 December 75 Conservatives voted against the report of the Joint Select Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform].

1 folio
19 Dec 1934