BUFFALO, N.Y. - When the U.S. State Department ignored a Buffalo businessman's request to travel to the Soviet Union in the days before WWII, he decided to go to the top, the Russian top that is, Joseph Stalin.
Lawrence Bell wrote a personal letter to the Soviet leader requesting a visit. Bell Aircraft had supplied thousands of aircraft to the Russians, and Bell wondered how they handled in combat; what worked, what didn't.
He tried to go through American channels, but when he received no response, he approached Stalin. A month later, he gottheanswer he was looking for.
After2 On Your Side aired a story about aBell P-39 Airacobra being found in an Arctic lake, a former Bell employee approached the Ira G. Ross Aerospace Museum with a treasure trove. He had a book of information and documents that he salvaged from the trash when they were cleaning out the Bell offices.
Included in that scrapbook were the Stalin letters, and now they are one of WNY's Unknown Stories.