342 Drakeford to Forde

Cablegram 6 CHICAGO, 9 November 1944, 2.45 a.m.

SECRET

Deputy Prime Minister [1] from Drakeford.

1. Civil Aviation Conference is getting down to consideration of the real issues involved and progress is being made especially in the field of technical convention.

2. After some manoeuvring we obtained to-day consideration by the main committee in plenary session which in effect amounted to full conference of the Australia - New Zealand proposal for international ownership and operation of international trunk routes. [2]

3. Speeches in support of the resolution were made by Sullivan and myself An amendment which had been circulated by Brazil was then read. This amendment while endorsing the resolution as an [3] objective went on to state that in the opinion of this Conference it was premature to adopt it. This was seconded by Ecuador.

4. Afghanistan strongly supported the resolution. To the surprise of the Conference, France supported the Australian and New Zealand proposal. The amendment was carried on the voices but a number of other states dissented.

5. The French delegation then insisted that the Conference should at least attempt some implementation of a principle to which so many nations had inclined and moved a further amendment calling on the Conference to examine the application of policy of international ownership and operation even if only to the extent of one main route to convince the world of its practicability and value. The chairman [4] ruled this amendment out of order on technical grounds but the French delegation obtained their right of reservation to introduce this subject at an appropriate time.

6. The discussion aroused very considerable interest and, as the Committee was open to the press, it is certain that wide publicity will result. We have in any case presented our principle to a world forum and have obtained very wide sympathy and some degree of practical support.

7. Copies of the texts of speeches and proceedings will follow by air mail.

1 Curtin had become ill with a heart condition early in November.

He resumed duty as Prime Minister on 22 January 1945, but his health remained precarious until his death on 5 July 1945.

2 See Documents 26 and 315.

3 This word was annotated mutilated'.

4 Presumably Berle, Permanent President of the Conference, Chairman of Committee III- Provisional Air Routes, and of the Conference Steering Committee.

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