Future events give hints as to what was said between Chennault and McDonald on the day Hong Kong was attacked…
Mac dropped off his passengers at destination
He was told Hong Kong could not be reached on radio and it was believed no CNAC planes were left
Mac was instructed to NOT go to Hong Kong
Mac arrived in Hong Kong at 1 am. CNAC personel were ok and 5 planes were not hit
274 people were evacuated by CNAC before the Japanese overran Hong Kong. Macs plane was the first and last flight out of Hong Kong. His plane was rated for 22 people and his last flight carried over 70 people, the plane barely made it off runway with gunfire behind them
within 2 weeks Mac and 2 other CNAC planes went to Toungoo, picked up 3 ground crews of Flying Tigers and flew them to Kunming. The AVG planes arrived the next day.
the following day the Japanese attacked Kunming (as usual) but they had angry Americans waiting for them, only 1 Japanese plane made it back to its base.
They never attracted Kunming by air again.
So what is my OPINION of what was said between Mac and Chennault? I think Chennault explained that he needed Mac to get 3 planes to get them out of Burma or the Japanese will destroy the AVG before they even get started. We will never know for sure but I do know Mac remained his wingman for the rest of Chennnaults life.
To get the whole story, read my book! “The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault”