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367 Drakeford to Forde

Cablegram 19 CHICAGO, 5 December 1944, 4.43 a.m.


For the Deputy Prime Minister from Mr. Drakeford.

Reference my telegram 16 of 1st December [1] [and that] [2] of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom [of 27th November] to the Dominions. [3] As anticipated and following on a motion to submit to the interim council the five freedoms [4] (see my paragraph 2) for further study, a resolution was passed whereby the two freedoms should be incorporated in a separate and distinct agreement from the main convention and open to signature by states at this Conference. That is, there will be now three documents for signature:

(a) the main Convention, (b) the International Air Transport Agreement (Five Freedoms) and (c) the International Agreement relating to transit by [scheduled international air services] (two freedoms i.e. the right of transit and the right to land for non-traffic purposes).

The United Kingdom have indicated their intention to sign document (c). New Zealand and the other Dominions will probably sign though Canada is doubtful; I should like to know first who is actually going to sign.

In view of the strong stand we have taken about international operation and ownership there may be some criticism and press comment if we fail to sign document (c).

On the other hand it is clear that all air transport arrangements, since they are left out of the Convention, will have to be settled in bilateral agreements. Our view is that better agreements may be obtained if Australia has four freedoms to grant than if we have only two, which will be the case if we sign (c).

Consequently, you may think it essential to give this question further consideration in the light of the text of the document itself. We cannot telegraph it as the final draft is still under revision and there may be amendments.

In the circumstances I should be glad of instructions as to whether I should sign document (c) or not. [5]

1 An unnumbered cablegram dated 1 December and bearing the handwritten annotation '16?' is on file AA:A989, 735/832/13.

2 Words in square brackets have been inserted from the copy in AA:A3195, 1944, 1.42914.

3 On the file cited in note 1. It urged the importance of granting the first two freedoms and noted that the U.K. delegation had been instructed accordingly.

4 See Document 364.

5 In Forde's cablegram 15, dispatched 6 December, Drakeford was authorised to sign Conference documents, including the agreement covering the two freedoms, following a decision by Full Cabinet on the same day. (The cablegram and a memorandum recording Cabinet's decission are on the file cited in note 1.) In the event, however, Drakeford chose to sign only the Final Act, the Interim Agreement on International Civil Aviation and the Convention on Civil Aviation (the two last subject to approval or ratification by the Commonwealth Govt). The question of signature of the International Air Services Transit Agreement, conferring upon signatory states the first two freedoms of the air, was referred to Full Cabinet following Drakeford's return to Australia, together with his report on the Conference. On 26 February 1945 Full Cabinet approved Drakeford's action in signing the Interim Agreement, and authorised the Australian Minister at Washington to sign the Transit Agreement. See Full Cabinet agendum 804 in AA:A2700, vol.

14, ii.

[AA:A989, 44/735/832/13]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History