The Minister in Canada (Phillips) to the Secretary of State

No. 271

Sir: I have the honor to report that Wing Commander J. Lindsey Gordon called upon me this morning and informally gave me his views in regard to the desirability of establishing in the American Legation in Ottawa and in the Canadian Legation in Washington official representatives who would concern themselves with the development of commercial aviation between the two countries. Wing Commander Gordon is the new Director of Civil Government Air Operations. He foresees the early development of civil aviation between Canada and the United States, and believes that it will be of great assistance, certainly from the point of view of Canadian interests, to have a representative of American aviation with whom his associates can be in close touch.

Canada, he reminded me, was a member of the International Convention for Air Navigation, signed in 1919,68 which grew out of a sub-division of the Peace Conference. Already Canada appreciates the fact that certain aspects of this convention are inappropriate for the development of civil aviation in this country, in view of the fact that the United States is not signatory to the convention in question. According to Wing Commander Gordon, the Dominion must follow the development of commercial aviation in the United States rather than in Europe, and being a small country must be guided by the rules and regulations adopted by its powerful neighbor. He feels that it would be very helpful for Canada to keep in touch with the progress of aviation in the United States, and perhaps from time to time to be able to express the Canadian viewpoint on matters which would touch upon the extension of commerce by air across the border.

He gave me the impression that an exchange of military attachés for air was not what he had in mind. Already, he said, through the intermediary of the British Attaché for Air in Washington, the Canadian Government was able to obtain such information of a military character as it desired. This country’s concern is not to obtain additional military information, but to keep in touch with all the aspects of the development of civil aviation on this continent. [Page 102] He thought that a representative of the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce might well be appointed to Ottawa, and that his assignment to the Legation here would be greatly appreciated. His views, he said, represented those of the Deputy Minister of National Defence, and he was authorized so to advise me.

As I have already pointed out, the call of Wing Commander Gordon was a purely personal one and should not be taken, therefore, as any official step on the part of the Dominion Government towards an exchange of civil air attachés.

I venture to express the hope, however, that the Department will give careful consideration to this subject, and should it be found practicable to adopt the suggestion of the appointment of an air attaché, that I may be instructed to sound the Dominion Government informally in order to obtain an expression of its views.

I have [etc.]

William Phillips