There are two questions here.
The first question is about which Western air minister former Generaloberst Kurt Student was referring to in Chapter 32 of The Soviet Army. The second is whether that claim actually had any basis in fact.
The first question is easy to answer. The claim originates in the book Ganze Männer by Hauptmann Piehl, and it is unsurprising that General Student was familiar with it. After all, he wrote an introduction to the book!
The book claimed that the remark was made by the French Air Minister Pierre Cot.
The answer to the second question is much less clear. Notwithstanding the claims made by 'Hauptmann Piehl' in 1943, and subsequently repeated by Chris Mason in his 2000/2001 thesis, it seems that there is some doubt that the comment was ever actually made.
Indeed, there is a very real possibility that the claim was simply German wartime propaganda.
On the relevant history page of the French Defence Ministry, it states that France sent a contingent of officers, including Frédéric Geille, to the Soviet Union in 1935 to attend a parachute training course. On his return Geille persuaded the French High Command to create a body of French paratroopers.
On 3 October 1936 the French Air Minister Pierre Cot signed a decree which led to the creation the following year of the 601st Groupe d'infanterie de l'air (Air Infantry Group) at Reims and the 602nd Groupe d'infanterie de l'air at Baraki near Algiers. Cot left the Air Ministry, and became Minister for Commerce in 1938.
This much agrees with the account in Piehl's book.
However, those units were not disbanded before the war started. On the contrary, in 1939, with the outbreak of war, both the 601st and 602nd returned to France, and in April 1940, an Air Marching Infantry Company was formed, under the command of Captain Henri Sauvagnac. However, the speed of the German offensive (and probably also the fact that the French High Command didn't know how to employ such a new type of fighting force) meant that the unit was never used in the Battle of France.
There is no mention of the Groupes d'infanterie de l'air being "circus acts", and it seems the units were most certainly not disbanded prior to the start of the war. A number of articles from German newspapers in the 1930s do mention Pierre Cot, however none repeat the comment about parachute troops being a circus.
Barring confirmation from an independent source, Piehl's claims do look a lot like German propaganda.
The French units were withdrawn to Oran in North Africa and then Algiers where they were subsequently disbanded.
The remnants of these units would form the basis of the 1re Compagnie d'infanterie de l'air (precursor of the 1er Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes), formed in Algiers in early 1941.