Cablegram 26A LONDON, 17 February 1944, 5.55 p.m.
For the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin.
Post War Civil Aviation
A most extraordinary and embarrassing situation has developed
owing to the Americans, after, as you have been advised ,
showing the greatest reluctance to start the unofficial
conversations with Beaverbrook which were contemplated to follow
the Empire discussions in October last, having suddenly approached
the United Kingdom and Canada with suggestion that tripartite
discussions should start in the near future.
The inclusion of Canada in the invitation was quite unexpected
here and has caused a considerable flutter. Unfortunately Canada
without consulting the United Kingdom or any of the other parties
to the October informal Empire conversations, promptly accepted
and have already sent to the Americans a statement of their views
as a basis for discussion.
In presenting this statement, I understand the Canadian Embassy in
Washington enquired whether the United States Government would be
in a position to furnish a similar statement setting out their
views in the near future and in any event in advance of the
Informal private discussions between the United Kingdom and
America are one thing but a Tripartite Conference to which a
certain measure of publicity would attach-I understand that the
State Department in Washington have already informed Press
correspondents that exploratory talks about Civil Aviation with
the United Kingdom and Canada are in contemplation-is quite
The situation I gather is further complicated by the fact that the
President who apparently was not in on the first decision has now
made it clear that he thinks the Russians should have an
opportunity of taking part in the talks.
I understand the Dominions Office are cabling you today with
regard to this matter  and until you receive their telegram I
would ask you to treat the above information as most confidential.