52 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D245 [1] LONDON, 18 February 1944, 10.52 p.m.


My telegram D. No. 88, 18th January. [2] Civil aviation.

His Majesty's United Kingdom Ambassador, Washington, has reported the [receipt] [3] of aide-memoire dated 26th January from the State Department as in my first following telegram [4] (not repeated to Canada).

2. We were greatly surprised to receive an invitation to a Conference on a tripartite basis and have carefully considered the resulting position. It is clearly embarrassing that the United States Government should have invited only Canada and not the other three Dominions who took part in the London discussions, although, no doubt, this may be accounted for by the special position of Canada in relation to civil aviation in North America and on the north Atlantic.

3. More recently we have received further indications which show that the United States Government contemplate that the Conference should discuss matters of high policy, going beyond a preliminary informal exploration. There are, moreover, suggestions that they might consider extending invitations to Russia and China also. In the light of these developments we have felt that we should make it clear to the United States Government that we expect them to extend the invitations to Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa. My fourth following telegram D. No. 247 [5] gives the text of the instructions which we are sending to Lord Halifax on this point.

4. We are sending to the United States authorities our draft agenda as set out in my second following telegram, D. No. 246. [6] We have also received from them and are repeating to you their suggested outline agenda in my third following telegram, [. . .] [7] (not repeated to Canada).

1 Also addressed to New Zealand and South Africa. Repeated to Canada and to the U.K. Ambassador in Washington, for information.

2 On file, AA: A989, 43/735/832/1, i. It reported a discussion between the U.K. Ambassador in Washington, and the U.S. Secretary of State, the latter arguing that civil aviation talks should be held in Washington. The United Kingdom was interested less in the venue than in an early date.

3 The word in square brackets has been corrected from the copy in NLA: DO35/1111. Dominions. Original Correspondence. 18 February 1944 (AJCP Reel PRO 5606).

4 Cablegram 50 of 18 February. On file AA: A989, 44/735/832/8.

5 Dispatched 19 February. On the file cited in note 4.

6 Dispatched 19 February. On the file cited in note 4.

7 The text was incorrectly rendered as D247, although the copy cited in note 3 did not specify cablegram number. The cablegram intended was presumably no. 51 of 19 February, in AA: A3195, 1944, Folder, Inwards Most Secret Master Sheets, from Secdomin nos 33 to 29765, 1.6511.

[AA:A989, 44/735/832/8]