Aircraft Assembly and
The British commitment to deliver supplies to the USSR through the Persian Corridor involved undertakings in three categories in which the United States participated. In construction and assembly, the United States aided as a British auxiliary in 1941 and 1942. From 1943 on, the United States, acting in logistic matters as a co-ordinate partner, added aid in transport to that previously rendered in the other two categories.
American aid to Great Britain in the assembly, storage, overhaul, and repair of United States aviation equipment sent to the Middle East was authorized by the President's Middle East Directive to the Secretary of War in September 1941, and implemented for the Iran-Iraq area by the Secretary of War's instructions in October to General Wheeler to establish and operate essential assembly facilities. The First ( Moscow ) Protocol of 1 October obligated the United States to make available to the Soviets large numbers of aircraft and posed the formidable question of their delivery. In November the Special Observer Group at London ( General Chaney's mission) dispatched a representative to Russia to investigate routes over which American planes could be delivered. The Americans hoped at the time that aircraft could be flown via Alaska across Siberia to Soviet receiving points convenient to the battle areas in the USSR. After long delays they learned that the Russians, suspecting the Americans wished flight route information for strategic reasons, would refuse to approve any arrangement for delivery which involved flight by American pilots across Soviet territory. The Russians proposed that delivery be accomplished by ship to Archangel
and Murmansk, and at or outside the Soviet frontier in the Middle East.1
American aircraft were delivered to the USSR over three routes: by flight to Fairbanks, Alaska, where they were taken onward by Soviet pilots; by ship to Archangel and Murmansk, while those beleaguered ports were practicable for convoys; and by flight and ship to the Persian Gulf, the only all-year route. Of the 14,834 American aircraft made available to the Soviet Union under lend-lease, slightly less than one third, or 4,874, were delivered via the Persian Gulf, of which 995 were flown in and 3,879 were shipped.2 Upon arrival these aircraft required refitting or assembly, as well as test flights. The variety of types and models, the complexity of aircraft construction, the need for skilled technical personnel, were special problems increasing the normal difficulties of the Russian-aid program in the Corridor.
The Douglas Aircraft Company had been selected in October 1941 to operate a British-aid air depot as contractor for the Air Corps within the framework of the North African Mission.3 Project 19, as this operation was called, was located at Gura, Eritrea. In November General Maxwell took part in discussions of the American Aid Subcommittee at Cairo concerning possible American participation, through the Iranian Mission, in British aircraft assembly at Shu'aiba. In December General Wheeler, after inspection of sites in the Basra area and at Abadan, and with the concurrence of British and American air authorities, including a representative of Douglas, selected as the location of an American aircraft assembly plant the airfield three miles north of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company refinery on Abadan Island.
Meanwhile, the Douglas Aircraft Company was authorized, by a War Department letter of intent dated 25 November 1941, to undertake the assembly task in the Persian Gulf. It was called Cedar Project, short for Civilian Emergency Defense Aid to Russia. The word civilian is a reminder that the United States was not yet a belligerent. A letter proposal by Douglas to the Materiel Division, Wright Field, Ohio, dated 1 December, specified that the contractor would undertake
Cedar Project, then planned for Basra, and would construct all buildings, hangars, power supply, improvements to real property, airfields, transmission lines, telephone, radio, water and sewage systems, storage warehouses, living quarters, mess halls, miscellaneous subsistence facilities and hospital, "and all other items incident to said depot," and that the contractor would supply equipment and spare parts and would operate and maintain the depot.4 The Douglas proposal was followed on 20 December by a supplementary letter of intent increasing from two to five million dollars the amount allowable for preparatory expenses. The contract, signed 3 January 1942 and approved by the Under Secretary of War on 6 January, stipulated an estimated cost for Cedar Project of $7,259,548.08 and a fixed fee of $435,572.88. This Air Corps contract for "construction and operation of depot at or near Basra, Iraq, Asia," was to run until 30 June 1942. It was twice extended by change orders, first to 31 December 1942, later to 17 November 1943.5
Although the contract as signed omitted from the contractor's duties the construction of airfields listed in the letter proposal, its other provisions respecting construction are noteworthy as overlapping both the general Anglo-American arrangements for construction of Iranian Mission installations by the British and the responsibilities in construction assigned the Iranian District engineer. In its operational provisions the contract clearly stipulated that Douglas "shall organize, equip and operate" the depot, and exercise "exclusive direction and control" over all contractor civilian employees. The administrative status of Cedar Project with relation to the Iranian Mission and the Air Corps was from the start ambiguous. As described by Colonel Shingler in April 1942, the Iranian Mission acted in an administrative capacity, but technical supervision of operations "is exercised by the U.S. Army Air Corps through the Air Section" of the North African Mission at Cairo, whose air officer acted for the Iranian Mission.6 There was no representative of the Air Corps contracting officer in Iran until May. The effect of the contract as planned before Pearl Harbor, but necessarily carried out under war conditions, was to place a civilian organization
in almost complete authority over its operations, including selection, hiring, and training of personnel; procurement of equipment, tools, and parts; the operation of aircraft assembly and disassembly; and maintenance, overhaul, and repair of aircraft, engines, propellers, and instruments. The contract stipulated that the Persian Gulf plant ought to handle each month 100 twin-engine light attack bombers (A-20's), 100 single-engine pursuit fighters ( P-40's ) , and 12 twin-engine medium bombers ( B-25's ) , subject to certain contingent circumstances named in Clause I ( b ) ( 4 ) . This target, as the story will show, was not achieved. Inasmuch as the contract stipulated that American personnel would work at the site of the Persian Gulf plant, Douglas obtained a modification to allow as costs under the contract work performed by its employees away from this plant. During the life of the contract there was considerable fluidity in the assignment of Douglas employees to projects in Eritrea, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.7
The Battle o f the Backlog
A long road stretched between planning and expectations, as expressed in the contract, and performance. From the outset more planes arrived than could be processed. Throughout the history of plane assembly, both in the contractor period and in the period of Army operation after cancellation of the Douglas contract in March 1943, the battle of the backlog was fought against a variety of odds. The flow of planes to the Persian Gulf under the Moscow Protocol began with a first shipment from New York of four Boston light twin-engine bombers (A-20's) on 28 November 1941. When these reached Basra on 23 January 1942, one American Air Corps lieutenant and eight Douglas mechanics were there to supervise their erection.8 This was an advance force, not the start of assembly operations under Douglas management. The first Boston bomber was delivered to the Soviets in February. During March only 5 additional craft were delivered, and an accumulated backlog of 33 planes warned that the flow was greater than the ability to take care of it. Yet at that time, the first shipload of Douglas materials was only just leaving New York. Not until early May was it offloaded at Abadan, to be followed on 17 May by the arrival of 356 Douglas employees, 122 of them transferred from Project 19 at Gura.
These, along with 9 Air Corps officers and 42 enlisted men, commenced aircraft assembly at Abadan under the Douglas contract on 20 May. Although 120 planes were delivered to the USSR by 31 May, the backlog had reached nearly 200.
Before the start in May of Douglas operations at Abadan, the Royal Air Force (RAF) undertook to assemble planes for the USSR until Douglas could take over. This agreement, reached on 22 December 1941, went beyond the earlier Anglo-American arrangements respecting establishment of an American plant at Abadan, under which the RAF was to erect planes for British use at Shu'aiba and elsewhere in the Basra area, reserving Abadan for Russian-aid assembly.9 In an effort to cope with the backlog problem, the British, under the supervision of the American advance force, began on 2 February to modify the first Boston bombers, originally designed to RAF specifications, to make them suitable for delivery to the Russians. The alterations were chiefly in radio and armament. British willingness to surrender to the Soviets planes consigned to them was reciprocated later in the year when, because of the critical need for aircraft in the desert fighting west of Cairo, 40 A-20's consigned to the USSR were released on 11 July and flown to Egypt. It was during the interim period early in 1942 that Soviet complaints about the quality of assembly at Shu'aiba were referred to General Greely's mission for adjustment.10
Under the Abadan agreement the British were to provide local labor, utilities and land, and necessary housing and shedding; while the Americans would furnish tools, accessories and equipment for assembly, the planes to be assembled, and the skilled personnel for the operation, including instruction in flying and servicing the American machines. Construction, begun on 30 December 1941, was sufficiently advanced by early April to enable the RAF to begin limited assembly operations on Russian-aid planes at Abadan. The fifty RAF mechanics assigned on 8 April from the Basra area were soon increased to two hundred.11
Back in the Basra area the RAF assembled planes for both British
and Soviet account. The first twin-engine Mitchell medium bombers (B-25's) reached Basra on 12 March and nine days later, because Basra was considered unsuitable to process them, Shu'aiba became the B-25 receiving point. Russian-bound planes arriving by sea were offloaded at Margil. Some were trucked overland to Shu'aiba for assembly; others were assembled at Basra and Margil and flown to Shu'aiba for further processing, final inspection, and check. American plans made before Pearl Harbor had contemplated the delivery, by American pilots flying to the Soviet border, of planes assembled in the Persian Gulf area; but after Pearl Harbor the shortage of available American pilots led to agreement by the Russians to take delivery themselves, first at Shu'aiba, and, after Abadan got into operation, at Abadan. It had also been contemplated that certain American planes could be flown direct to Tehran from the United States or from intermediate assembly points outside Iran. For a period later in the spring this plan was accomplished; but at the beginning planes arriving by air were delivered in the Basra area.
The processing of B-25's constituted a special problem. After the first delivery accomplished in the Basra area on 17 April 1942, it was decided on 24 May to remove B-25 assembly from Shu'aiba to Tehran, where on 12 January the British had rented an aircraft factory for the use of the Iranian Mission. The B-25's could fly direct to Tehran from Habbaniya without touching at Persian Gulf bases. To prepare them for delivery, thirty-two of the newly arrived Douglas technicians were loaned to Tehran from Cedar Project along with fourteen Air Corps personnel. On 31 July, upon completion of their work on the B-25's provided under the First ( Moscow ) Protocol, this small force of Americans returned to Abadan but went back to Tehran on 1 September to take care of B-25's arriving under the Second ( Washington ) Protocol. The Tehran plant was outstanding for its smooth operation and lack of friction with Soviet inspectors. Much credit is due to its commanding officer, Capt. John Allison, who later became a combat commander and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Air. Colonel Shingler met Allison while the latter was on leave at Tehran after a period of service in the USSR as a technical expert in processing P-40's that arrived through north Russian ports. Impressed by Allison's knowledge of Russian and the Russian people, Shingler obtained his transfer to direct the work at the Tehran check point. On 15 September, in compliance with a Soviet request transmitted by Col. Leonid I. Zorin, the B-25 project was removed to Abadan, thus marking the final step in a process of
concentrating American aircraft assembly for the USSR at the Abadan depot.12
This process was first undertaken to relieve the pressure on the British plant at Shu'aiba and was accelerated both by the establishment of the Douglas organization at Abadan and by British agreement in midsummer to permit the assignment of Soviet mechanics to that plant. By 26 June congestion at Shu'aiba brought about the removal from Shu'aiba to Abadan of the final assembly operation hitherto done by the RAF. The small American group remaining at Shu'aiba followed on 4 September.
At Abadan the backlog was a pressing problem to be solved only by a sufficiency of mechanics. Colonel Shingler, now commanding officer of the Iran-Iraq Service Command, responsible to General Maxwell, commanding officer of USAFIME, reported to Cairo on 22 July 1942 that he had for some time fruitlessly urged Maj. Gen. G. de la P. Beresford, commanding general of the British Basra Line of Communications Area, to permit the transfer from Shu'aiba to Abadan of Soviet mechanics. Some 30 of them were sent to Shu'aiba on 26 May and their number had increased to 148 by midsummer. The British Foreign Office had allowed only 10 Russian technicians at Abadan, notwithstanding an absence of objection to the presence of Russians in that strategic location on the part of the AIOC, and the "apparent" approval of the British Air Ministry. Colonel Shingler stated, "Cannot continue as in past to cover up British reluctance to Soviet at Abadan . . . . Soviet after exclusion from our Abadan project is sending complaint from Moscow and Washington, D. C., while the same matters are probably being investigated by Faymonville while en route to Tehran.13
Although the British had officially abandoned in January 1942 an earlier policy to prohibit flight of Soviet aircraft over the British zone, the underlying caution behind that policy survived in the continuing British objection to the presence of Soviet mechanics at Abadan.14
General Maxwell promptly took the matter up with the Royal Air
Force and the Middle East Forces in Cairo. While he was doing this, General Adler, whose Air Service Command, U.S. Army Middle East Air Force, Cairo, shared responsibility for Abadan operations, had cabled Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold in Washington. By the time General Arnold called upon General Maxwell for information, Maxwell was able to report the removal of British objections. The Soviet mechanics began arriving at Abadan on 22 August and by 8 September all 148 of them were there to help attack the backlog. Thus by mid-September the interim period of British help was over and plane assembly for Russia was concentrated at Abadan under American responsibility.
Meanwhile, the months immediately preceding the arrival of the main body of Douglas operatives in May 1942 had been marked by much confusion and delay in delivering planes to the Soviet Union. On 2 April General Wheeler had sent General Somervell a statement of difficulties. The inexperience of the RAF in the assembly of American machines, the necessity of familiarizing Russian pilots with them, and delays arising from changing the Bostons from British to Soviet specifications bulked large in the list.15
Prominent also was the insistence of the Soviets that planes be without flaw. Russian fastidiousness in inspection and Russian complaints brought, on 16 May, a detailed explanation to the Soviets by General Faymonville, head of lend-lease at Moscow, that in the opinion of Iranian Mission officers plane delivery was being impeded because of unnecessary objection on the part of Soviet officials. Matters were ironed out after the visit of Russian officers to Basra and adoption of more reasonable demands by Col. Ivan I. Obrazkov, chief of the Russian Air Force personnel in Iran.16 In this connection it must be recalled that, under agreement, lend-lease goods became Soviet property at the point of departure from the United States.17 Furthermore, as the commanding officer of Cedar Project reported in August to General Maxwell, hundreds of the first planes sent from the United States were old machines recognized by pilots as having been ferried by them earlier in the United States. Some had been used there for pilot training and had been repeatedly overhauled. They arrived without logbooks or spare parts. They were reconditioned upon arrival in the Persian Gulf and 339 out of 360 such craft were accepted by the Russians.18
The most serious early handicap, in the opinion of General Wheeler, was "the lack of a senior air officer of field grade who is an expert in technical details and capable of co-ordinating airplane matters."19 At the beginning, although his staff included two railway consultants and a pipeline consultant, there was no air officer, nor, in spite of Wheeler's appeal, was one assigned. Not until 25 May did Maj. Charles P. Porter, appointed earlier that month, arrive at Abadan to become commanding officer of Cedar Project.
Being under Air Corps contract, the Douglas-operated Cedar Project and Air Corps personnel connected with it found themselves involved in several chains of command. Functioning physically within the area of the Iranian Mission they fell administratively under its jurisdiction. But inasmuch as the Iranian Mission possessed no air officer and as air command for the Middle East was centered in Cairo at the seat of the North African Mission, they fell technically under the jurisdiction of the Air Section of that mission. Moreover, being engaged in highest priority Russian-aid work under lend-lease, they came logically within the purview not only of the Iranian Mission but (until its dissolution) of General Greely's mission to the USSR. Finally, as a further complication, the contractor, lacking for many months a representative on the spot as Air Corps contracting officer, was entitled, as was the Air Corps commanding officer of Cedar after his arrival in the field, to communicate directly with Air Corps officials ,in the United States.
The resultant confusion inevitably affected problems of supply, operation, continuity of policy, and relations with the British and Russians. As General Adler, chief of General Maxwell's Air Section, remarked in a message to General Arnold, instead of the original plan whereby Cedar was to be administratively under the Iranian Mission and technically under the Air Section of the North African Mission, the project found itself by mid-April 1942 embarrassed by a plethora of advisers, since the Maxwell, Wheeler, and Greely missions "are all involved in attempt to manage the project and to co-ordinate matters with the British and Russians."20 This was, of course, the situation even before the arrival of the main Douglas contingent in May created daily problems in command responsibility; while on the other hand, the situation was somewhat eased by the abandonment of the Greely mission some two weeks after the Adler message.
The undefined boundary between administrative and technical responsibility created a no man's land of multiple command responsibility
which was to plague the project throughout its existence. At the start, as reported by General Maxwell's Air Section in early January 1942, "The Air Section has established excellent relations with Headquarters, RAF, Middle East and Air Headquarters, Egypt, the Chief of the Air Section having clearly established in their minds that he acts as the representative in this area of the Chief of the Army Air Forces, as well as the Air Officer on the Staff of the U.S. Military North African Mission." Soon afterward, in a letter to the vice president of the Douglas Aircraft Company, even more sweeping responsibility was claimed for the Air Section, when General Adler wrote that it was "charged with the administration of all air matters in the Middle East, including the Gura and Abadan projects." Yet the chief of the Air Corps, in a directive defining the authority of the Air Corps representative at Cedar over Douglas, appeared to overlook Maxwell's Air Section while stressing the primary responsibility of the Iranian Mission. The Air Corps representative, ran the directive, exercises jurisdiction over the contractor "under instructions from the Headquarters of the Iranian Mission, in the same manner as the district supervisor or factory inspector exercises jurisdiction over a contractor's plant in the United States." Matters were further clarified by General Maxwell's declaration in July to General Adler, formerly his air officer, and now, upon the organization of USAFIME, with its new authority over the IranIraq Service Command, commanding general of the Middle East Air Service Command. With the single exception of aid from General Adler in technical matters, said Maxwell, he, as commanding general of USAFIME, was responsible for both the Douglas projects at Abadan and Gura.21
Although construction responsibility at Abadan was divided between the British Army and the Douglas Aircraft Company, with the Iranian District engineer helping out, necessary building was achieved with a minimum of confusion. The first Douglas ship, which arrived in May 1942, brought to Abadan 2 hangars, 14 warehouses, 120 Quonset huts, and 10 Dimaxion circular huts-all prefabricated and ready for quick erection at the site. Upon their arrival at Abadan the Douglas personnel found among the installations there-some of them recently erected by the British-3 hangars, 8 brick office and shop buildings, 36 India huts for living quarters, and 3 all-weather paved runways, one 5,500 feet long which was later extended by the AIOC to 6,500 feet.22
With their own equipment and locally secured materials, the Douglas people erected warehouses, a hospital, garage, shops, and living quarters; using bitumen from the AIOC plant on the island, they also laid hard-surface aprons in front of Hangars 1 and 2.
While construction proceeded, the personnel fluctuated both as to numbers and component elements of the staff. Unlike the engineer constructor, who worked under a small military staff, the Air Corps contractor had a considerable military staff to deal with at the start, and one which grew, proportionately, faster than did the numbers of civilians. By mid-August 1942, when Colonel Porter reported to General Maxwell in Cairo, there were 65 officers and men of the Air Corps assigned to Cedar and 354 Douglas civilians, of whom about a hundred, borrowed from Project 19, would soon return to Gura. Some 600 natives, principally employed upon construction work, plus the first arriving Soviet mechanics and the RAF men sent over from Basra and Shu'aiba completed the Cedar staff. As the construction program gradually attained its objective the number of natives diminished. The total number of Douglas men at Abadan tended to remain in the neighborhood of 200, although the number borrowed from Gura during 1943 varied from a low of 41 to a high of 199 in May. At mid-March 1943 there were 436 Air Corps officers and men assigned to the project, with 193 Douglas civilians, 165 Russians, and 54 native workmen.23
The relatively large numbers of military personnel, coupled with the contractual stipulation giving the Douglas Company full authority over its own civilian employees, led to considerable conflict as to local responsibility for the operation of the plant. On 10 June 1942 Colonel Porter, claiming that the Douglas management had failed to control its employees, placed them under military regulation. In an appeal to the men made also on that date, Colonel Shingler, chief of the Iranian Mission, reminded them that their work was as essential to the war effort as actual combat. In August Colonel Porter was able to report that, although internal quarrels among the local- Douglas managerial staff had adversely affected morale and work for a time, the civilian staff was working well. But on 3 November he found it necessary to dismiss the Douglas project manager and one other for what he termed inefficient leadership, and for permitting feuds, absenteeism, inefficiency, and the violation of military regulations imposed through Colonel Porter by the PGSC or the British Tenth Army. At the same time Porter praised the work of the Douglas employees and, taking note
that their contracts were soon to expire, hoped that they would see fit to renew and stay on at the base.24
Personnel, ambiguities in the chain of command, overlapping construction responsibilities-these were some of the factors affecting production of assembled aircraft ready to be flown away to Soviet battlefields. Although in any event production was dependent upon the number of skilled mechanics available, the highly variable rate of arrival of craft to be processed must be taken into consideration in any assessment of the efficiency of operations. For example, in one week in March 1943-the last month of Douglas management-90 aircraft arrived in the Persian Gulf, while only 18 were accepted by the Russians: 14 A-20's and 4 P-40's. In the following week only 14 aircraft arrived, and only 8 were accepted: 2 A-20's, 1 B-25, and 5 P-40's. The net total of unassembled (backlog) aircraft, under such circumstances, becomes quite meaningless as a measure of systematic operations.
Because aircraft of the same make and model differ in some small detail from each other, and since planes cannot be stamped out with a die like a piepan, assembly of any two planes of the same make and model cannot be standardized down to the last split second of time-study measurement. When a single assembly plant, moreover, handles a variety of models and makes and does not know from one day to the next which to prepare for, no standard routine can be established that can turn out work with the mechanical regularity of a doughnut machine in a shop window. The first P-40's ( single-engine Kittyhawk pursuit planes) reached the Persian Gulf by ship on 15 November 1942. These were latecomers to Abadan, having been preceded since late 1941 by large numbers of Boston bombers (A-20's ) . The first Bell Airacobra fighter (P-39) arrived at Abadan by sea on 8 December and, though a new type at the plant, was finished and flown out on 13 December, to be followed the next year by over a thousand more.25
Because of the foregoing factors, the battle of the backlog was an uneven contest with the odds too often stacked against the human factor. At the end of the first month of Douglas operation-May 1942-nearly 200 aircraft were awaiting assembly. By the end of June this number had fallen to a little over 100, as against total deliveries that month of 128 craft. During the next few months, the backlog
averaged less than 25 unassembled machines, but rose again at year's end to about 75. By this time a total of 742 aircraft had been delivered to the Russians.26 In February 1943, as greater quantities of crated planes were received, the backlog rose rapidly, reaching about 170 by the end of the .month, and rising to 200 during March as against only 114 deliveries in that month. This was the state of affairs as the Douglas contract came to an end.
It was ordained by the Washington directive of February 1942 that overseas contract activities should be militarized as soon as practicable. As the personnel figures have indicated, the Air Corps was able to throw military personnel into the Abadan project relatively faster than its contractor could supply civilians, with the result that Cedar Project, in a sense, automatically militarized itself. But so long as the Douglas contract was in force the preponderance of military over civilian personnel remained, from the point of view of control and management, an anomaly. The Douglas Aircraft Company, therefore, became the third civilian contractor to be dispensed with. The first Douglas contract, expiring in June 1942, had been renewed until the end of the year. On 15 November General Maxwell, as Commanding General, SOS, USAFIME, recommended that it be renewed only through 31 March 1943 and that two air depot repair squadrons and a headquarters and headquarters squadron of an air base group be assigned to reduce the backlog. On 17 November Air Corps officials in the United States renewed the contract for one year from that date instead of the period recommended by Maxwell; but at a meeting in Cairo on 14 January 1943, Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commanding General, USAFIME, decided that sufficient military personnel were available to militarize Cedar Project as soon as possible. A few days later it was informally communicated to Bert N. Snow, Douglas representative at Abadan, that militarization would be accomplished by 1 April.27
At the end of 1942, while the change to militarization was merely a rumor among the men at Abadan, only 30 percent of them had ex-
pressed a desire to renew their individual contracts into the new year. After the new situation was clarified, 87 percent of the available Douglas mechanics at Cedar Project signed on, to 31 March 1943, while Colonel Porter agreed with the Douglas representative that during that final contract period Air Corps officers would transmit orders only through the Douglas civilian superintendents.28 In January 1943 the 82d Air Depot Group arrived at Abadan for a period of orientation before taking over from Douglas in April.
Notice of termination of the Douglas Cedar contract was given by Colonel Porter to Jack A. Ahern, the new Douglas manager, and Bert Snow, Douglas representative, under date of 2 March 1943. The notice stated that on or about 31 March the company would cease construction, the hiring, selecting, and training of personnel, and the procurement, warehousing, and all other work on aircraft, so that after that date "the Contractor shall have no further affirmative duty to perform" save evacuation of the site and return of his personnel to the United States.29 On the same date Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, now commanding general of USAFIME, ratified General Andrews' previous decision to terminate the contract, and forwarded Colonel Porter a tentative draft of a comprehensive release of the Douglas Company which had been prepared by George Lupton, that company's legal counsel. The letter of termination declared
The Government hereby states that this notice is not being given because of the fact that the Contractor at any time has refused, neglected, or failed to prosecute the work required [but because] conditions have arisen in connection with the direction and prosecution of the current war . . . that [require that] work under the contract be discontinued.
Colonel Porter, having discharged an earlier Douglas project manager, gagged a bit at signing the release sent him ready-made from Cairo; but after a trip there and conferences at headquarters, he signed on 26 April a modified Release, Receipt, and Certificate of Performance in eight Whereases, one Now Therefore, and twenty-four Clauses. This document stated that all procurement was wise and prudent, all wage scales proper, all waste necessary, and all work of whatsoever nature performed at the command of, and by the specific authority of, the contracting officer under circumstances as healthful and free of hazard "as has been possible under the existing conditions"; and that not only did the contractor comply, clause by clause, with his contract, but that
at all times his operations, books, and records were open and known in minute detail to Colonel Porter.30
Up to 1 April 1943, when the Air Corps took over management and operation of Cedar Project at Abadan, 1,025 aircraft were delivered to the USSR in the Persian Corridor, or an average of about 75 a month. Of these, 197 A-20's and 111 B-25's were flown in to the area, leaving 717 craft which were assembled after arrival by sea. The cost of the work performed under the Douglas contract was $3,795,735, about half the original estimate; but it must be realized that the target contemplated by the contract was not achieved. The fee to the Douglas Aircraft Company was $435,572, as originally estimated.31
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