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299 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 187[A] LONDON, 13 October 1943, 8.19 p.m.


Your telegram No. 146 8th October, Post-war Civil Aviation. [1]
The talks which have been of an entirely informal and exploratory
character have been carried on almost continuously over the past
three days.

The broad lines of them have been-
1. That they were for the purpose of mind clearing in preparation
for discussions with the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R.

2. That our objective was the maximum degree of international
cooperation in the development, operation and regulation of air
transport in the interests of mankind as a whole.

3. That no policy that might prove feasible should be eliminated
from discussions in advance of the international meetings.

4. That although civil aviation is closely related to the problem
of Post-war security, it was not within the competence of the
meeting to deal with security but that while proceeding to
consider ways and means for the most efficient and beneficial
conduct of Post-war air transport any conclusions reached must be
subject to modification in the light of security considerations.

5. That maximum co-operation should be ensured between British
countries in the provision of services between Empire countries
within the framework of any system internationally agreed upon.

With regard to (2) the result of the discussions was that the best
method would be the establishment of an international authority
for the administration of an international convention.

The broad provisions which should be embodied in such a convention
were exhaustively discussed and a draft of such a convention was
prepared by a sub-committee on which Williams [2] sat. (The text
of this draft is contained in my telegram 188A. [3])
With regard to (4) this question was considered by a committee
presided over by Law and composed of the High Commissioners, which
reached the following conclusions-

'(1) That security aspect of civil aviation was of fundamental
importance, and should be examined by competent defence
authorities at very earliest opportunity.

(2) That international air transport authority should be
intimately associated with and responsible to any United Nations
Security Organisation which might be established.

(3) That with view to reducing risk of international friction
signatory states should be entitled to suggest to international
air transport authority the joint or international operation of
certain specific routes or zones, and that international air
transport authority should be entitled to recommend to signatory
states such joint or international operation.

(4) That from point of view of European security immediate
consideration should be given to feasibility of establishing a
European operating agency.

Finally it was decided to emphasize paramount importance which
meeting attached to conclusion (1) above and to urge that security
aspect of problem should receive immediate consideration.'
With regard to (5) joint memo was prepared by Beaverbrook and
Howe, the Canadian Minister of Munitions and Supply, as follows-

'1. It is believed to be necessary and desirable in planning air
routes of Post-war period to provide for establishment and
operation of an all British route connecting United Kingdom with
British Dominions, India and principal British Colonies.

2. It is proposed that each Dominion and United Kingdom and India
shall be invited to operate and assume responsibility for sections
of all British route adjacent to territory of each.

3. Extent of route which will become responsibility of each
Government will in first instance be proposed by Government
concerned with understanding that British Governments will
endeavour to see that an unbroken chain of responsibilities is
created all along route.

4. Governments operating portions of all British route will
constitute coordinating committee which will be concerned with
questions such as use of reasonably uniform equipment on route,
regularity of services and in general all matters affecting route
as a whole.'
All discussions were of an entirely exploratory character and
draft convention, report on security and memo on British co-
operation were accepted by conference as a whole as an agreed
basis for consideration and examination of problems involved by
various Governments concerned.

It was recognised that provisions of draft convention are very
general in character and will need considerable clarification and
modification in light of examination by individual Governments. It
was felt, however, in view of urgency of this question and
desirability [of] holding wider international discussions at
earliest possible date, that it was better [to] formulate some
proposals and convey them to Governments promptly than to incur
prolonged delay that would have been involved in referring
specific points to various Governments with view to obtaining
agreement upon more elaborate and detailed document. With regard
to subsequent procedure please see my telegram No. 186. [4]


1 Document 292.

2 Air Marshal Williams attended the conference to advise Bruce on
technical matters.

3 Dispatched 14 October. On file AA:A989, 43/735/832/5.

4 Document 298. On 20 October Bruce dispatched to Curtin a full
set of documents issued by the conference (see letter on the file
cited in note 3).

[AA:A989, 43/735/832/5]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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