John Charnley: visits to the USA

John Charnley recalls mutually beneficial visits to American aeronautical research centres in the 1940s.

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You made your way into the States via the embassy, our embassy, BJSM, British Joint Services Mission. Part of that mission was concerned with the technical and scientific links in the US. So you clocked in with them first. They’d been arranging your programme anyway before you went. And you were taking advice from them as to the sort of places that were worth going to in terms of what it was you were after: thin wing, sweep back, deltas, whatever. You then – through them, you clocked in with the defence people, the R&D people in the Pentagon, and you were taken – you were led by your man in – your own man in Washington to go and meet the chappie who ran the defence R&D. And he was a political appointment rather than, with us we didn’t go down to political appointments at that sort of level. They did. And this particular chap always started by saying, ‘Welcome John,’ or whatever it was at the time, ‘You’re most welcome. I see what your programme is. Do enjoy it. But please, before you leave, after you’ve been round for three weeks or whatever, come see me again because I want to know what your reactions are. Because you in the UK don’t have the money that we throw at things, you have to think more carefully as to how you spend your R&D money. And, you know, I find that,’ he said, ‘That it’s – your view is of value in the areas where you think we’re spending our money that isn’t going to be of value.’ And that happened. Before I would leave I would go and give some reactions to the way in which they were doing their – their – in the area with which I was concerned. 

  • Interviewee John Charnley
  • Duration 00:02:22
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 10/27/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/30

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