No. 30 NAI DFA 219/2A
LONDON, 21 March 1941
I lunched Sir Arthur Street Permanent Secretary of the Air Ministry recently and gathered from him that whilst the additions to the British Air Force which they were expecting from America would be valuable they would be suitable more for defence than for the spearhead of attack either over the Continent or on the Atlantic.
He was of the opinion that the British had not solved the problem as yet of dealing with the German long-distance bomber flying over Atlantic sea routes. He did not think it was much good sending fighters; it was rather a waste of force. The area of the sea and sky being so vast it was not much good sending out what he called a group of mosquitoes, i.e. fighter planes, because of the great difficulty of locating the target.1
When I asked about the radio detector he said that the advance in this device was being for the moment held up owing to the difficulty of knowing whether the detector revealed the presence of a friend or a foe. They were now hoping to overcome this by a system of signals which would inform their attacking pilot of the presence of a friendly plane.
He remarked that his Minister, Sir Archibald Sinclair,2 was a gentleman – 'a not negligible handicap when dealing with some of his colleagues'.
[signed] J. W. DULANTY
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