188 Commonwealth Government to Attlee

Cablegram 116 [1] CANBERRA, 12 May 1943


Your D.206. [2] Post-war aviation.

Commonwealth Government has carefully considered questions raised by you and agrees that it is desirable for an approach to be made to United States Government on this matter. We assume that if response is favourable early approach will also be made to U.S.S.R. and United Nations.

2. Our view is that the starting point should be an affirmation that civil aviation is subject to those principles of International collaboration which we also hope to see applied to the related problems of a world system of security and post-war economic re-organisation. Feel that if any major post-war issue such as civil aviation is decided ad hoc along the lines merely of national interest the general hopes for the settlement of other issues on the International plane will be undermined.

3. As regards the actual content of the approach, we fear that the presentation to the United States of a simple proposal for full internationalisation might arouse suspicion that it is aimed at limiting their undoubted potential advantages in air transportation and might immediately lead to the presentation of an alternative plan designed to conserve purely American interests. We would prefer a more general approach on the issue whether or not the principles and spirit of International collaboration which United States spokesmen have affirmed apply to civil aviation, and if so whether the United States would co- operate in considering ways and means by which such collaboration may be brought about for mutual benefit.

4. For its own part the Commonwealth Government holds the preliminary view that International collaboration in civil aviation for mutual benefit might best be secured through:

(a) General inclusion of all air transport services within the terms of a convention which would supersede and take over the powers of the International Convention on Aerial Navigation with powers revised and extended to control all International Air Transport.

(b) Actual operation of certain services (i.e. main International routes) by an International Air Transport Authority. Such a system should, we consider, be framed to allow:

(a) Devolution by the International Authority of its management either within regions or on particular routes.

(b) Special arrangements for the conduct of internal services and the conduct of short local services between neighbouring countries under bilateral or multilateral agreements subject to supervision by the International Authority.

5. We would emphasize that these are preliminary general ideas only, and would hope to be able to make a contribution to practical details of such a scheme at the appropriate time. It seems evident that the settlement of such details will depend partly on the parallel elaboration of a general system of security.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Prime Minister as no. 86.

2 Document 154.

[AA:A989, 43/735/832/1]