341 Drakeford to Evatt

Cablegram 5 CHICAGO, 8 November 1944, 11.28 p.m.


For Evatt from Drakeford.

Thanks for your message from New Zealand to myself and the Delegation through Watt. [1] What you have said will be borne in mind but some of the matters mentioned are, of course, outside the scope of this Conference.

Dealing specifically with the points mentioned I may say- (a) This Conference will not in any way preclude any inter- Commonwealth arrangement we may wish to entertain. [2] No decisions were taken on this subject at Montreal and it may be that there will be further Commonwealth discussions when the Chicago Conference is over. One of the points agreed at Wellington was that an endeavour should be made to secure agreement for operation through the medium of a joint operating authority representative of all Commonwealth countries of all international routes which may be allotted to Empire countries. This was not acceptable to Canada and South Africa too expressed disagreement.

An endeavour was made by others to induce Australia to merge in a single authority for operation of England - Australia - New Zealand service but we refused to agree to this. We shall, therefore, still retain our rights to operate as far as Singapore and there is a suggestion that we may naturally wish to operate through to London in parallel with B.O.A.C.

(b) and (c) The arrangement at Montreal provided for full participation by Australia in the United Kingdom - Australia military service as regards staff, crews and ground facilities but Bowhill [3], Ferry Command, emphasised that this service was to be regarded as a unified rather than a sectional service. As you may be aware the service is already operating.

(d) We shall, of course, fight hard to secure representation on the interim Council but many other countries too wish to be represented. The United States proposal provides only two representatives for the British Commonwealth as a whole out of a total of 15 and if this provision is adopted by the Conference, Australia's hope lies only in being accepted as one of the Commonwealth representatives. In this respect Canada would be our chief rival but Australia can claim to have been an international operator before the war whereas Canada was not, and Australia's record in trans-ocean flying during the war is equally as good if not better than Canada's.

I have noted your advice regarding Eggleston's assistance [4] and will not hesitate to avail myself of his services whenever necessary.

1 Cablegram unnumbered, dispatched 6 November. On file AA:A989, 44/735/832/12. The Australian Delegation was led by Drakeford and included McVey, Hodgson and Johnston, with H. R. Adam and W. L.

Ellis of the Dept of Civil Aviation as Advisers.

2 Evatt had expressed fear of '...some intention to reduce Australian control and operation of sections of Empire services even as compared with pre-war position whereby we had the full control and operation of route between Singapore and Australia'.

3 Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Bowhill, Commander-in-Chief, R.A.F. Transport Command.

4 Evatt had suggested that Eggleston might raise with Hull any matters on which difficulties were being experienced with Berle.

[AA:A989, 44/735/832/13]