154 Attlee to Commonwealth Government

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

MOST SECRET

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]