Letter from U.S. War Department to Ethyl Corporation
December 15, 1934
Exhibit No, 144
(Handwritten) Mr, Webb sent copies for other Directors
Copy to: Mr. Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., General Motors Corp,, New York City, Mr. Donaldson Brown, General Motors Corp., New York City.
December 15, 1934.
Mr. E. W. Webb,
President Ethyl Gasoline Corporation, 185 E, 42nd Street, New York City. Dear Mr. Webb: I learned through our Organic Chemicals Division today that the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation has in mind forming a German company with the I.G. to manufacture Ethyl lead in that country.
I have just had two weeks in Washington, no inconsiderable part of which was devoted to criticising the interchanging with foreign companies of chemical knowledge which might have a military value. Such giving of information by an industrial company might have the gravest repercussions on it. The Ethyl Gasoline Corporation would be no exception, in fact, would probably be singled out for special attack because of the ownership of its stock.
It should seem. on the face of it, that the quantity of Ethyl lead used for commercial purposes in Germany would be too small to go after. It has been claimed that Germany is secretly arming. Ethyl lead would doubtless be a valuable aid to military aeroplanes.
I am writing you this to say that in my opinion under no conditions should you or the Board of Directors of the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation disclose any secrets or ’know how’ in connection with the manufacture of tetraethyl lead to Germany.
I am informed that you will be advised through the Dyestuffs Division of the necessity of disclosing the information which you have received from Germany to appropriate War Department officials.
Yours very truly,
Source: United States Senate, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Military Affairs, Scientific and Technical Mobilization, 78th Congress, Second Session, Part 16, (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1944), p. 939.