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I went to see Cranborne this morning. I told him of my
conversation with Balfour  and outlined to him what I suggested
should be done down similar lines to those I had adopted with
To Cranborne I made two additional points. The first was that if
at the moment I was the Prime Minister of Australia and the United
Kingdom did not very soon give a lead down the lines I was
suggesting, I would most certainly send a very crisp cable to the
United Kingdom Government making it clear to them that as they
were giving no leadership with regard to post-war Empire co-
operation in connection with Civil Aviation, I proposed to take my
own line and make arrangements with America or anyone else I saw
fit, so as to ensure for my country adequate and necessary air
services after the war.
The second point I made to him was that if I were the Secretary of
State for Dominion Affairs at the present moment, I would feel I
had fallen down on my job if I allowed the present deadlock with
regard to post-war civil aviation to continue. I added that I
would propose to break that deadlock by drafting definite
proposals which I would submit to the United Kingdom Government
with an intimation that unless these proposals, or something like
them, were adopted they had to recognise the fact that it would
not be possible to obtain co-operation from the Dominions in the
post-war period and that if that cooperation did not materialise
the United Kingdom would be left in a hopeless position.
I think I shook Cranborne's complacency fairly effectively and
when I left him he expressed the definite view that he was going
to prepare a paper down the lines I had suggested, and was going
to force the issue with the United Kingdom Government.
I wish I had any real belief that he has sufficient force to carry
out this intention effectively.
S. M. B.
[AA:M100, JULY 1944]
1 See Bruce's Note of Conversation, dated 18 July, on file
AA:M100, July 1944. Bruce had urged H.H.B. Balfour, U.K.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air, that, in view of
the U.S. Govt's apparent disinclination to accept international
co-operation in civil aviation, the U.K. Govt should take the lead
in sponsoring an Empire scheme based on the proposals prepared by
McVey (see Document 177, note 7).
Category: International relations