2 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government
Cablegram D1 LONDON, 2 January 1944, 3.55 p.m.
My telegram of 31st December, D.1214. 
Following estimation as at end of November has been received from
His Majesty's United Kingdom Ambassador, Washington of the
official United States attitude towards post-war civil air
1. The following estimation of the official American attitude to
wards post-war civil air transport is necessarily a statement of
opinion. It represents the position as we see it at the moment but
American views are still fluid.
2. It would seem that American aims in the field of post-war civil
air transport may be:
(a) The establishment of at least one American round the world air
service plus commercial air entry into all major nations. A route
across Russia might perhaps be regarded as a better proposition
than one alongside a British route via India.
(b) The right to operate air services in the Middle East and
Africa with at least partial cabotage.
(c) Unrestricted civil air transit rights (implying rights of
innocent passage and of landing for non-traffic purposes) with
some additional rights in Canada (to Alaska), Newfoundland,
Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, Bermuda, West Indies, Guiana and the
Irish Free State to be obtained in exchange for transit rights in
America, the Pacific Islands and Alaska while keeping South
America and the Pacific as much as possible for the Americans.
(d) A permanent agreement embodying the above rights.
3. It is probable that Americans would dislike agreements between
any two or more countries which discriminate against third parties
except perhaps present enemies. They fear that in the absence of
international agreement the United Kingdom and the dominions may
be driven back on to an 'all red' policy which would hamper
American air line development abroad.
4. Internal political considerations are likely to make it
essential for the Americans to obtain a form of agreement which
will satisfy public opinion that reasonable use of airfields
constructed by them overseas has been secured. Some sort of
international control might be regarded as a satisfactory
5. Although at first sight these aims may appear formidable the
Americans recognise that there are also legitimate British aims
which must be met, for example transit rights across America, the
Pacific Islands and Alaska.
6. There seems no reason to suppose that the Americans would
reject the first two of the 'Four Freedoms' adopted by the
Commonwealth Conference in London , viz. the right of innocent
passage and the right to land for non-traffic purposes, since
these are essential to accomplish American aims. It is thought
that the last two, viz. the right to land passengers from the
country of origin and the right to pick up passengers for the
country of origin, might be acceptable subject to agreement on
regulation and provisions for special variations or arrangements
affecting contiguous countries, for example Canada and America. It
is observed that freight and mails are not specifically referred
to in the last two freedoms but the Americans would probably
consider that they would have to be included in the scope of any
satisfactory international agreement.
7. The Americans might agree that carriage of passengers by
country A between countries B and C should be subject to
negotiations between countries concerned.
8. As regards the right to carry between two points in one
country, not the country of origin, the Americans would be
unwilling to concede cabotage within United States and are
unlikely to grant it between United States territories. On the
other hand, despite what Mr. Berle has said, they might try to
obtain it for themselves elsewhere; for example within and between
British territories in Africa. They will be reluctant to recognise
the British Commonwealth as a unit for this purpose because they
realize their lack of bargaining powers in the cabotage field.
They may therefore try to avoid discussing it until other
controversial points have been settled.
9. The Americans recognise the need for an international technical
authority to replace the International Commission on air
navigation. They might also suggest placing finance and operation
of airfields in hazardous or undeveloped territories such as
Greenland, Iceland and Liberia on an international basis.
10. As regards an operating executive the Americans would probably
agree but it is probable that the State Department and Civil
Aeronautics Department would want to exercise close control of
American representatives. It is not possible to say what form of
executive they would favour pending clarification of their own
policy as regards a 'chosen instrument' although it seems likely
they will retain a free commercial basis. On the relationship of
this international authority to any United Nations security
organization which may be established no opinion can be given.
11. The proposal for international zones of operation is unlikely
to appeal to the Americans. They might agree as regards Europe but
the problem of international operation in the Middle and Far East
seems likely to raise difficult issues. American views on this can
only be elicited by direct discussion. Counter proposals to make
Latin America exclusively [an]  American field might be put
12. The above seems to show that the argument will be tough but
that in spite of divergencies a basis for agreement upon
principles might be found.
1 On file AA:A989, 43/735/833/1. It outlined U.S. aviation
interests in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East and stressed
U.K. wishes for informal discussion on civil aviation issues with
the State Department.
2 Informal talks on civil aviation held in October 1943 (see
Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Documents
299-300 and 316).
3 The word in square brackets has been corrected from the
Dominions Office copy in NLA: DO35/1111. Dominions. Original
Correspondence. 2 January 944 (AJCP Reel PRO 5606).