December 12, 2009

Chapter 3: The “I” of the Tiger

William Pawley expedites the creation of China National Aviation Corp. He then forms Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company, headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, to recruit Claire Chennault and other pilots for The Flying Tigers (American Volunteer Group) which defends Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s forces against the invading Japanese. This brings Pawley into contact with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Madame Chiang’s brother, T.V. Soong, who finances the Flying Tigers and then emerges from World War II as one of the wealthiest men in the world and a leader of the China Lobby. Pawley shifts aircraft manufacturing to the safety of India to support the American pilots. He gains major press coverage from newspapers and Time magazine, which leads to his friendship with Henry and Clare Boothe Luce, a woman with similar political opinions and interests. Pawley later states that during this period “I first began to feel a growing alarm at the threat of world communism.”