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326 Prime Minister's Department to Bruce

Cablegram 166 [1] CANBERRA, 8 November 1943


Your telegram 210. [2]

Interdepartmental Committee on Civil Aviation commenced meetings in Melbourne last week and sittings are continuing. This Committee was appointed by the War Cabinet following a general discussion on observations by the Prime Minister on certain broad aspects of civil aviation policy and a memorandum by the Director-General of Civil Aviation dated 6th July on 'civil aviation aircraft for national needs'. [3] War Cabinet directed the Committee to examine the submission and report 'as to the principles which govern Australian civil aviation policy and organisation during the war and the post-war period in order that civil aviation may be established on sound lines as soon as possible and its vigorous development proceeded with when the war ends'. [4]

2. In an accompanying press statement the Prime Minister said:

'In regard to the short-term aspect of the matter, the predominant consideration in the war period to date has been the attempt to maintain the minimum nucleus organisation essential to the presentation of Australian civil air services. The governing factor, however, has been the availability of sufficient aircraft.

The long-term, including post-war, aspect is that Australia must seek to organise its war effort in the air to obtain the greatest residual value that is possible in the post-war period.

The development of transportation after the war will be of vital importance to Australia, which must be in a position to exploit for civil purposes the progress made by aviation as the result of the intense development of aeronautical science as applied to military aviation.

The Government has studied evidence of the thought that is now being given by Britain and the United States to post-war civil aviation, and to the problems involved in such questions as the internationalisation of civil aviation and the availability of land facilities and navigational aids to foreign territories.

In addition to the organisation of internal routes, and the provision of aircraft and adequately equipped aerodromes, there is also the vital question of participation in oversea routes which will link with the Australian continent.

Related to the question of both civil and service aviation is the development of an aircraft industry to provide for our needs and to safeguard us against the recurrence of the experience of this war, in which we have been almost entirely dependent on oversea sources of supplies.

On the personnel side, post-war civil aviation also has an important bearing on the provision of avenues for the absorption of as large a number as possible of the Australian air crews and ground personnel who have been associated with the R.A.A.F. and the R.A.F. during the war.'

1 Repeated to the Legation in Washington as no. 1355.

2 Dispatched 28 October. On file AA:A989, 43/735/832/5. It conveyed a request from Lord Beaverbrook that he be kept informed of decisions of the Australian Interdepartmental Committee on Civil Aviation.

3 In AA:A2670, 381/1943.

4 See AA:A2673, vol. 13, minute 3097.

[AA:A989, 43/735/832/5]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History