245 Curtin to Drakeford

Letter MELBOURNE, 2 August 1944

It is very clear that Canada is not ready for the establishment of an Empire Scheme.

It is also clear that Canada, the United States and, in all probability, Russia are opposed to any plan for the internationalisation of air services.

The principles therefore stated in the Australian policy of.- (a) the internationalisation of air routes managed by some authority, and (b) an Empire service are negatived.

It would appear to me, therefore, that there should be immediate study given to the proposals set out in Lord Beaverbrook's letter of the 3rd July [1] under which we can perhaps develop certain Commonwealth air services.

The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand should at once commence discussions regarding the operation of a route through the Mediterranean and India. In the latter connection, India would be welcome as a partner, but in any event the other three countries have paramount interests in providing a service between the Pacific and the United Kindom.

I should be glad if Mr. McVey would summarise his valuable reports [2] and the discussions [3] he has had by concluding with a series of positive recommendations as to the immediate steps that are desirable.

JOHN CURTIN

[handwritten]

On receipt of the particulars sought in the final para an agendum to be prepared for Full Cabinet. [4]

J. C.

1 Beaverbrook's letter to McVey is on file AA:A989, 43/735/832/1, ii. It proposed an Empire round-the-world air service with different sections being operated in equal proportions by U.K., Canadian, Australian and N.Z. crews.

2 See Document 177, note 7.

3 i.e. in London, Ottawa and Washington. See Documents 177 and 209, and Cablegram 10 from Glasgow to Bruce, dispatched 14 June (on file AA:M100, June 1944).

4 See Full Cabinet agendum 729 in AA:A2700, vol. 12, ii. See also Cabinet's decision dated 25 September, repeated in Document 301.

[AA:MP288/1, ITEM 31, BUNDLE 13]