130 Commonwealth Government to Sir Walford Selby, U.K. Ambassador to Portugal

Cablegram unnumbered 10 August 1939,

Darwin Dilli Air Service. My telegram 4th July. [1] Following is text of draft note to be addressed to Portuguese Government.

Begins.

At the instance of His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia, I have the honour to propose that an agreement be concluded between the Government of Portugal and the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia for the establishment of an air service between Darwin in the Commonwealth of Australia and Dilli in the Territory of Portuguese Timor under the following conditions:-

(1) That the Government of Portugal will accord to an Australian air navigation undertaking nominated by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia authorisation for the operation in Portuguese territory of a regular commercial air service from Darwin to Dilli and vice versa.

(2) That the Portuguese Government shall not during the currency of this Agreement accord authorisations to any other non- Portuguese air navigation undertaking for the operation in Portuguese Timor of any air navigation line.

(3) The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia for its part declares that it is prepared to accord during the currency of this Agreement reciprocal authorisation to a Portuguese air navigation undertaking nominated by the Government of Portugal for the operation of a regular commercial air service from Dilli to Darwin and vice versa.

(4) The authorisation referred to in paragraphs (1) and (3) hereof shall form the subject of necessary technical arrangements to be made between the competent aeronautical administrations of the Governments of Portugal and of the Commonwealth of Australia respectively.

(5) The air services established in pursuance of paragraphs (1) and (3) hereof shall be entitled to provide for the carriage of mails, passengers and freight and neither Government shall place any unreasonable restrictions upon the carriage of such mails passengers or freight by the undertaking authorised by the other.

(6) The air navigation undertaking nominated by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to operate the services established in pursuance of paragraph (1) shall operate the same with a frequency of not less than one trip in each direction per fortnight except when it shall be prevented from so doing by circumstances beyond its control.

(7) The Government of Portugal shall [2] make full and proper provision for the necessary ground organisation, aerodromes, installations and technical services on the Portuguese portion of the route of the air line required by the Australian concessionnaire undertaking and shall [3] take the necessary measures to ensure the use [4] by such concessionnaire undertaking of such services. The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia for its part is prepared to take the necessary measures to ensure the use of [5] the ground organisation, aerodromes, installations and technical services at Darwin by the Portuguese undertaking nominated under paragraph (3) hereof.

(8) Each Government reserves the right to revoke nominations of air navigation undertakings made by it and to substitute other national undertakings. In such case the authorisation accorded to the undertaking superseded will lose its validity and the new undertaking shall be accorded without delay a similar authorisation. The undertaking superseded by one of the contracting Governments shall not be entitled by reason of that fact to make any claim against the other Government.

(9) The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia agrees that its right to operate the service shall lapse if the same shall not have been in fact established within one year from the date upon which the necessary ground organisations and technical services and facilities shall be available in Timor. The said right shall also lapse if the said service shall be subsequently discontinued for any cause other than a cause beyond the control of the concessionnaire undertaking.

(10) The Agreement shall remain in force for a period of ten years from the conclusion thereof and thereafter until the expiration of twelve months from the giving of notice by either Government to the other of its intention to terminate the same.

I should be glad to be informed at an early date whether the abovementioned conditions meet with the approval of the Portuguese Government. If this should be the case, I suggest that this note, together with Your Excellency's reply, shall constitute the Agreement between both Governments and that the period of ten years referred to in paragraph (10) hereof shall run from the date of Your Excellency's reply.

Ends. Paragraph (2) has been inserted to cover the grant of exclusive rights for the service. With regard to paragraph (9), if Portuguese authorities press for shorter period than one year for inauguration of service His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia is agreeable to reduce period to six months but it is requested that longer period be obtained if possible. [6]

1 Document 116.

2 In an unnumbered cablegram sent to the U.K. Charge d'Affaires in Lisbon (Oswald Scott) on 17 August 1939 the Prime Minister, R.G.

Menzies, suggested that 'shall' be replaced by 'is prepared to' (on file AA: A981, Aviation 50). It is not clear, however, whether the alteration was carried out.

3 It was suggested that 'shall' be replaced by 'to'. See note 2.

4 & 5 Scott queried the correctness of the phrase 'ensure the use of' in an unnumbered cablegram sent to the Commonwealth Government on 11 August 1939 (on file AA: A981, Aviation 50) and suggested that it implied a measure of compulsion which the Portuguese might resent. It was agreed to substitute the phrase 'ensure readiness for use' (see the cablegram cited in note 2).

6 The text of this cablegram was approved by Sir Henry Gullett, Minister for External Affairs, and J.V. Fairbairn, Minister for Civil Aviation, and sent to the Prime Minister's Department for dispatch on 28 July 1939. At the request of the Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies, it was held pending a revision of departmental cost estimates, which might have affected the financing of the air service (see Lt Col W.R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs, to Gullett, minute of 4 August 1939 on file AA:

A981, Aviation 50). On 8 August 1939 Fairbairn wrote to F.

Strahan, Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department, advising him that the Department of Civil Aviation was still prepared to support the project and that the cablegram should be dispatched at once. A minute on the letter (on file AA: A461, D314/1/8) noted the Prime Minister's approval of this course of action on 10 August 1939.

[AA: A981, AVIATION 50]