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design from the Allies. The American War Department cabled Great Britain asking if America should start building the best type of their large night bombing machines, namely, the Handley Page. We were greatly surprised to receive in reply a cablegram from England advising us not to build any night bombers nor any large bombing planes of any type, saying that they were of no value in the European war.
The mission headed by Bolling (then Major, later Colonel) sailed from New York on June 17, 1917 and arrived in London on June 26, 1917. The very next morning Bolling and I met with the entire British Air Board. In this session, the British again reiterated their advice that the large bombardment airplanes and night bombers were of no value in the war. They were unanimous in advising that America not build any such type of airplanes. This advice was indeed a shock to us for we could neither understand nor believe their reasoning. However, we felt that the British, having had three years experience in the war, should know whereof they spoke. We then asked the British what they would advise. The British advised that America should build in the United States only such airplanes as were already sufficiently advanced either in the actual or experimental stages, as to be of value on the front at the time when the completed airplanes could reach the fighting front in quantity. To do otherwise would be to build airplanes that would be valueless in the then already rapidly changing type of aerial warfare. The Americans asked for British cooperation. This the British Air Board gave gladly and unstintingly. Sir William Wier, then civilian head of the British Air Force production activities was designated as the man with whom the Americans should consult.
Members of the mission were temporarily assigned to various British activities. Within five days, the Americans, thanks to marvelous British cooperation, had made a quick examination of all that Great Britain had to offer and had chosen in their own minds the outstanding airplanes, engines, and accessories which they felt America should consider constructing for wartime use. Bolling and I met frequently with Sir William Wier endeavoring to procure samples, drawings, specifications, etc., of each chosen item for shipment to the United States as quickly as possible. The British Air Board and Sir William Wier raised the question of how much royalty the American would pay to the British manufacturers whose ideas might be copied. Bolling very promptly replied that the United States would pay no royalty for it was not our intention "to pay an entrance fee to enter the war". Bolling then proposed a mutual exchange of manufacturing


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