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Historical documents

326 Prime Minister's Department to Bruce

Cablegram 166 [1] CANBERRA, 8 November 1943


Your telegram 210. [2]

Interdepartmental Committee on Civil Aviation commenced meetings
in Melbourne last week and sittings are continuing. This Committee
was appointed by the War Cabinet following a general discussion on
observations by the Prime Minister on certain broad aspects of
civil aviation policy and a memorandum by the Director-General of
Civil Aviation dated 6th July on 'civil aviation aircraft for
national needs'. [3] War Cabinet directed the Committee to examine
the submission and report 'as to the principles which govern
Australian civil aviation policy and organisation during the war
and the post-war period in order that civil aviation may be
established on sound lines as soon as possible and its vigorous
development proceeded with when the war ends'. [4]

2. In an accompanying press statement the Prime Minister said:

'In regard to the short-term aspect of the matter, the predominant
consideration in the war period to date has been the attempt to
maintain the minimum nucleus organisation essential to the
presentation of Australian civil air services. The governing
factor, however, has been the availability of sufficient aircraft.

The long-term, including post-war, aspect is that Australia must
seek to organise its war effort in the air to obtain the greatest
residual value that is possible in the post-war period.

The development of transportation after the war will be of vital
importance to Australia, which must be in a position to exploit
for civil purposes the progress made by aviation as the result of
the intense development of aeronautical science as applied to
military aviation.

The Government has studied evidence of the thought that is now
being given by Britain and the United States to post-war civil
aviation, and to the problems involved in such questions as the
internationalisation of civil aviation and the availability of
land facilities and navigational aids to foreign territories.

In addition to the organisation of internal routes, and the
provision of aircraft and adequately equipped aerodromes, there is
also the vital question of participation in oversea routes which
will link with the Australian continent.

Related to the question of both civil and service aviation is the
development of an aircraft industry to provide for our needs and
to safeguard us against the recurrence of the experience of this
war, in which we have been almost entirely dependent on oversea
sources of supplies.

On the personnel side, post-war civil aviation also has an
important bearing on the provision of avenues for the absorption
of as large a number as possible of the Australian air crews and
ground personnel who have been associated with the R.A.A.F. and
the R.A.F. during the war.'

1 Repeated to the Legation in Washington as no. 1355.

2 Dispatched 28 October. On file AA:A989, 43/735/832/5. It
conveyed a request from Lord Beaverbrook that he be kept informed
of decisions of the Australian Interdepartmental Committee on
Civil Aviation.

3 In AA:A2670, 381/1943.

4 See AA:A2673, vol. 13, minute 3097.

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