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154 Attlee to Commonwealth Government

Circular cablegram D206 LONDON, 7 April 1943, 2.15 p.m.


We have now for some time past had under examination the question
of post-war Civil Aviation. It seems to us that the time has now
come when it would be desirable for us to take the lead in
approaching the other Governments, and in particular the United
States Government, in the matter.

As you are aware there has been considerable discussion in the
United States in which divergent views have been expressed ranging
from advocacy of a 'free air' policy to a policy of
Internationalisation under United Nations Control adumbrated by
Vice President Wallace.

2. We have now had two preliminary meetings on the subject with
the Dominion High Commissioners in London, to whom we have
communicated reports of the official Committees whose advice we
have received. I As a result, we have reached the conclusion that
the best course is for us now to put forward the proposal of full
Internationalisation after the war of all Air Transport Services.

By this we understand a system in which all such Services
throughout the world would be controlled by one central authority.

Such a system should prove most economical owing to the advantages
of rationalization and large scale operation, and also, by
securing the abandonment of air transport as an instrument of
national policy, contribute substantially to the security and
harmony of the world.

3. If it is generally agreed that this procedure should be adopted
it would seem to be desirable that the first approach should be
made to the United States Government and we should hope that you
should agree also to join with us in commending the proposal to
the United States Government.

4. If as is quite possible the plan is rejected by the United
States or other Governments, the question arises what alternative
plan would be most advantageous from our point of view and at the
same time most likely to command general acceptance.

We have, without reaching any final conclusions, given some
preliminary consideration to this point and, as indicated above,
have communicated to Dominion High Commissioners in London the
results of the work done on this by our advisers. But we think and
trust you will agree that the best procedure will be to put
forward as our proposal the system of complete
Internationalisation and to invite those who reject that plan to
propound their alternative plan for making adequate provision for
the necessary development of air transport without imperilling
security or provoking a serious clash of national interests.

1 Bruce had dispatched accounts of the preliminary meetings to
Curtin, together with copies of the Finlay, Shelmerdine and Barlow
reports on post-War civil aviation. See cablegrams 44A of 1 March
and 67A of 31 March on file AA:M100, March 1943 and copies of the
reports on file AA:A989, 43/735/833/1.

[AA:A989, 43/735/832/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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