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329 Johnston to McVey

Cablegram Air Talks 1 MONTREAL, 25 October 1944, 2.16 p.m.


For McVey from Johnston.

1. The Conference of Civil Aviation officials opened at Montreal on the 23rd of October [1] and at the commencement the Delegations indicated their general views. Australia's views were expressed in accordance with the Australian - New Zealand Agreement of the 12th of October [2] and were duly supported by the New Zealand Delegation. In subsequent discussions it became apparent that the Australian and New Zealand proposals for internationalization extending to actual operation and ownership of aircraft were not supported by any other Delegation as a practical proposition, although it was understood that the Australian and New Zealand Governments would, nevertheless, press this policy at Chicago.

2. It is clear from discussions to date that all Commonwealth Governments endorse the need for a regulatory body in accordance with the principles of the Balfour report. [3] The Canadian draft convention [4], embodying these principles, is being examined in detail with a view to it being submitted at Chicago as a draft convention in actual form which must, therefore, be given full consideration by the Nations there. There are many aspects of air navigation dealt with in the Paris Convention of 1919 which are not covered by the Canadian draft and agreement will probably be reached to extend the scope of the Canadian draft from purely air transport to cover the full field of air navigation by including as a separate part of the draft convention the majority of the provisions now contained in the Paris Convention.

3. At the commencement Canada tabled certain minor amendments to their original draft convention and these, with the United Kingdom amendments, are now under careful examination.

4. The United Kingdom Government proposed that members of the present Conference should advocate at Chicago:-

(1) Full international control and authority on the lines of the Canadian and amended United Kingdom draft.

(2) In the event of failure of the above, conferences of operators to replace executive and regional bodies contemplated in the Canadian draft, the decisions of such conferences to be subject to endorsement, variation or refusal by international authority.

(3) If (2) fails then agreement to include in any bilateral agreements between countries certain binding provisions, such as making agreement to apply to the interim period only.

5. On the question of operating Commonwealth routes it is too early to indicate what conclusions will be finally reached, but clearly Canada at least is opposed to one Commonwealth operating organisation and regards the principle of sectionalisation as having been agreed in London talks-vide Beaverbrook-Howe of the 13th of October, 1943. [5] The Australian Delegation presented the case for strategic and commercial Empire routes, but apart from New Zealand, no active support was given and the Australian Delegation was requested to submit a detailed case for an Empire Corporation for the consideration of the Sub-Committee. Even the United Kingdom Delegation regarded the difficulties of Commonwealth operating corporation, especially those of standard equipment, as being insurmountable.

1 The Australian Delegation was led by E. C. Johnston, Assistant Director-General of Civil Aviation, and included Hodgson and two officers of the Civil Aviation Dept, H. R. Adam, Supervising Engineer, and W. L. Ellis, Inspector of Aircraft. Drakeford was in Montreal at the same time but, as the talks were at the official level, he was not included in the Delegation.

2 See Document 315.

3 See Document 165.

4 See Document 165, note 6. A printed copy of the 'Revised Preliminary Draft of an International Air Convention, Prepared for the Canadian Government', dated October 1944, is on file AA:A989, 44/735/832/13.

5 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Document 299.

[AA:A989, 44/735/832/12]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History