- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Willauer, Whiting, 1906-1962
- Whiting Willauer Papers
- Public Policy Papers
- Permanent URL:
- 1916-1962 (mostly 1941-1955)
- 10 boxes and 1 folder
- Storage Note:
- Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-10
The papers of Whiting Willauer (1906-1962) reflect Willauer's entire career, but focus most strongly on the period from 1941 to 1954 when Willauer was in China and worked for China Defense Supplies, Inc. (1941-1944), the Foreign Economic Administration (1944-1945), the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration [NRRA] (1946-1947), and Civil Air Transport, Inc. (1946-1954). The papers also document his positions as an admiralty lawyer for the New York City law firm, Bingham, Dana and Gould (1931-1938), as Attorney, Criminal Division at the Department of Justice and Special Assistant to United States Attorney General (1929-1940), Special Counsel for the Federal Power Commission (1941), and his appointments as United States Ambassador to Honduras (1954-1958) and Costa Rica (1958-1961). In addition, materials which reflect Willauer's role as a delegate to the Organization of American States' Meetings of Foreign Ministers (August 1960) and to the United Nations General Assembly (October 1960) are found in the papers.
Collection Description & Creator Information
Consists of papers of Willauer (Princeton Class of 1928) relating mainly to his official, semi-official, and private concerns in China during and after World War II when he was executive secretary (1941-1944) for China Defense Supplies, Inc., which purchased airplanes for Claire Lee Chennault's American Volunteer Group known as the "Flying Tigers;" director (1944-1945) of the Far East branch of the Foreign Economic Administration; and president and vice-chairman of the board of the Civil Air Transport (CAT) company in China, co-founded with Chennault. Included are Willauer's annotations to his papers and autobiographical notes, correspondence, articles, speeches, and interviews by and about him, photographs, CAT manuals, and a flight logbook for 1943-1944. Major correspondents include Joseph Alsop, Marshall Bannell, Claire L. Chennault, Thomas Corcoran, T. V. Soong, Charles L. Stillman, L. K. Taylor, Edward Warner, Erik Watts, Louise Willauer (wife), and William S. Youngman.
Also present are some limited materials pertaining to his earlier career as an admiralty lawyer (1931-1938) with a New York City law firm, attorney for the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Dept. of Justice, and, later, as ambassador to Honduras (1954-1958) and to Costa Rica (1958-1961).
- Collection Creator Biography:
Willauer, Whiting, 1906-1962
Whiting Willauer (1906-1962, Class of 1928), was born in New York, New York, received his A.B. from Princeton University and his law degree from Harvard University. Willauer married Louise Russell in June of 1930. They had three children, Sally, Whiting, Jr. and Thomas.
Following law school Willauer worked for the law firm of Bingham, Dana & Gould for seven years practicing admiralty law. In 1939 he accepted a position as Special Attorney with the United States Civil Aeronautics Board where he was put in charge of the conduct of air mail rate hearings and the other matters involving the Washington National Airport. From 1939 through 1940 Willauer worked as an attorney in the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice investigating judicial corruption. While in this position, Willauer also served as a special assistant to the United States Attorney General and conducted the first grand jury investigation into Nazi propaganda. In 1941 Willauer served as Special Counsel for the Federal Power Commission. In this capacity Willauer worked on the proposed St. Lawrence Seaway legislation.
In July 1941 Willauer took a position with China Defense Supplies, Inc. (CDS, Inc.), the official representative of the Chinese government in lend-lease matters. Willauer worked as assistant to T.V. Soong, President of CDS, Inc. It was this job that launched Willauer's career in Asia. While in China Willauer met Claire L. Chennault with whom he founded the American Volunteer Group, also known as the "Flying Tigers", and advised Chennault on matters related to this organization.
In 1944 Willauer was assigned a new position as Director, Far East and Special Territories Branch of the Foreign Economic Administration. In 1946 Willauer was an advisor to the director on reconstruction problems in China for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).
During this time, beginning in 1946, Willauer and Chennault formed the Civil Air Transport (CAT) company. Willauer served as executive vice-president, and later as president and vice-chair of the board. CAT was a civilian airline which transported supplies and individuals throughout China and Asia, often taking risks that other airlines refused to take. During the war in China between the Communists and the Nationalists, CAT aided the Nationalists in transporting supplies to both the army and to civilians. CAT, Inc. was eventually bought by the U.S. government (the C.I.A.) in the late 40s/early 50s. Following a lawsuit between CAT, Inc. and another Chinese airline, Central Air Transport, Corp. (CATC) Willauer left China and returned to the United States.
From 1954 to 1958 Willauer served as United States Ambassador to Honduras, and from 1958 to 1961 he served as United States Ambassador to Costa Rica. During his ambassadorship to Costa Rica, Willauer served as a delegate to the meeting of foreign ministers for the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1960 and as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in October 1960. In July 1961 Willauer gave testimony to the United States Senate Internal Security Subcommittee Investigation on the Bay of Pigs incident in Cuba.
Whiting Willauer died at age 56 in 1962. He was survived by his wife, Louise, and his daughter Sally and son Whiting, Jr.
1931-1938 Admiralty lawyer, Bingham, Dana and Gould law firm (New York, NY) 1939 Special Attorney, United States Civil Aeronautics Board 1939-1940 Attorney, Criminal Division, Department of Justice, and Special Assistant to the United States Attorney General 1941 Special Counsel, Federal Power Commission 1941-1944 Co-founder and Advisor to General Claire L. Chennault's American Volunteer Group (AVG), a.k.a., "Flying Tigers" Executive Secretary, China Defense Supplies, Inc. 1944-1945 Director, Far East and Special Territories Branch, Foreign Economic Administration 1946-1947 Advisor to Director on reconstruction problems in China, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) 1946-1954 Executive Vice-President, President, and Vice-Chair of the Board, Civil Air Transport (CAT) 1954-1958 United States Ambassador to Honduras 1958-1961 United States Ambassador to Costa Rica 1960 Delegate to the Organization of American States (OAS) Meetings of Foreign Ministers (August 1960) 1961 Testimony on Bay of Pigs incident in Cuba, Senate Internal Security Subcommittee Investigation, (27 July 1961)
The Whiting Willauer Papers were donated to the Princeton Library by Louise Russell Willauer in several accessions.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
Eight maps were separated from this collection when it was processed in 1992. These maps were transferred to the Geology Library. No other information about appraisal is available for this collection.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Melissa A. Johnson in July 1992. Finding aid written by Melissa A. Johnson in July 1992.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Collection is open for research use.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.
- Credit this material:
Whiting Willauer Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Subject Terms:
- Aeronautics -- Relief service -- China.
Aeronautics, Commercial -- China.
Aeronautics, Military -- China.
Air pilots -- China.
Ambassadors -- United States -- 20th century.
Economic assistance, American -- China -- 20th century.
Fighter pilots -- China -- 20th century.
Honduras -- Foreign relations -- United States -- 20th century.
Lawyers -- United States -- 20th century.
Reconstruction (1939-1951) -- China.
Sino-Japanese Conflict, 1937-1945 -- China -- Aerial operations.
Sino-Japanese Conflict, 1937-1945 -- China -- Civilian relief.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, Chinese.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief -- China.
- Genre Terms:
- Audio tapes.
- 14th Air Force Association (U.S.). Flying Tigers.
China. Kong jun. American Volunteer Group
Civil Air Transport
Flying Tigers (AVG), Inc.
United Nations, Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
United States. Army Air Forces. China Air Task Force
United States. Civil Aeronautics Board
United States. Foreign Economic Administration
Chennault, Claire Lee, 1893-1958
Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975
- China -- Commerce -- 20th century.
China -- Foreign relations -- United States -- 20th century.
Costa Rica -- Foreign relations -- United States -- 20th century.
United States -- Foreign relations -- China -- 20th century.
United States -- Foreign relations -- Costa Rica -- 20th century.
United States -- Foreign Relations -- Honduras -- 20th century.