228 Note by Bruce of Conversation with Cranborne

I went to see Cranborne this morning. I told him of my conversation with Balfour [1] and outlined to him what I suggested should be done down similar lines to those I had adopted with Balfour.

To Cranborne I made two additional points. The first was that if at the moment I was the Prime Minister of Australia and the United Kingdom did not very soon give a lead down the lines I was suggesting, I would most certainly send a very crisp cable to the United Kingdom Government making it clear to them that as they were giving no leadership with regard to post-war Empire co- operation in connection with Civil Aviation, I proposed to take my own line and make arrangements with America or anyone else I saw fit, so as to ensure for my country adequate and necessary air services after the war.

The second point I made to him was that if I were the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs at the present moment, I would feel I had fallen down on my job if I allowed the present deadlock with regard to post-war civil aviation to continue. I added that I would propose to break that deadlock by drafting definite proposals which I would submit to the United Kingdom Government with an intimation that unless these proposals, or something like them, were adopted they had to recognise the fact that it would not be possible to obtain co-operation from the Dominions in the post-war period and that if that cooperation did not materialise the United Kingdom would be left in a hopeless position.

I think I shook Cranborne's complacency fairly effectively and when I left him he expressed the definite view that he was going to prepare a paper down the lines I had suggested, and was going to force the issue with the United Kingdom Government.

I wish I had any real belief that he has sufficient force to carry out this intention effectively.

S. M. B.

[AA:M100, JULY 1944]

1 See Bruce's Note of Conversation, dated 18 July, on file AA:M100, July 1944. Bruce had urged H.H.B. Balfour, U.K.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air, that, in view of the U.S. Govt's apparent disinclination to accept international co-operation in civil aviation, the U.K. Govt should take the lead in sponsoring an Empire scheme based on the proposals prepared by McVey (see Document 177, note 7).

[LONDON], 19 July 1944