364 Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister (in London)

Cablegram 164 26 March 1941,


Washington telegram No. 21 to you. [1] Pacific Air Service.

For reasons of high policy touched on in Casey's telegram, Cabinet has been considering desirability of reopening question of extension of Pan-American Airways South Pacific service to Australia.

As you are aware, the Commonwealth Government, besides maintaining reciprocity in landing rights as basic principle of policy in this matter, has also consistently held the attitude that an approach for extension of Pan-American service could only be entertained if made by the United States Government. Furthermore, we have regarded ourselves as fully bound by agreement confirmed at Wellington Conference April 1939 for consultation between United Kingdom, Commonwealth and New Zealand Governments on matters affecting trans-Pacific air services.

I would appreciate if you would now raise the question with appropriate United Kingdom authorities and explain that, influenced by the consideration set out in Casey's telegram, Commonwealth Government considers that it would be of advantage to intimate of its own accord to the United States Government that it is ready to discuss extension of Pan-American service to Australia. Such an offer would preserve the condition that the granting of terminal rights in Commonwealth territory would be conditional on reciprocity in United States territory on behalf of any future British trans-Pacific service.

At the same time the United States Government could be given to understand that for various practical reasons arising out of present war conditions, such a service could naturally not be established for some time. So far as the United States is concerned, therefore, reciprocity would be nominal until such time as means for establishment of British trans-Pacific service became available.

From your recollection of previous occasions on which matter has come under discussion you will appreciate that while proposed approach to the United States Government does not carry any variation as regards our consistently held requirement of reciprocity in landing rights, it does represent an advance from our side in that we have hitherto taken the line that approach should come from the United States Government itself. This modification we consider to be fully justified on present broad political grounds.

If, on receipt of your observations and views of United Kingdom authorities, it is decided to proceed further with this proposal we would, as the next step, ascertain views of New Zealand Government. [2]


1 Document 349.

2 This cablegram was repeated to R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, as no. 25.

[AA:A981, AVIATION 36, iii]