Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

Mr. Pearson came in to see me, at my request.

I referred to the request which had been made by the Canadian Government that conversations between Canada and the United States in respect of civil aviation matters should take place at an early date. I said we were prepared to enter such conversations, and handed him a copy of the suggestions for agenda previously handed the British. At the same time, I gave him the substance of the conversation I had had with Mr. Michael Wright of the British Embassy on February 14.

I added that these conversations should be considered as exploratory and looking towards a United Nations Conference later in the year. It was our desire, should this prove agreeable to the Canadian Government, to suggest that such a conference be held at Ottawa. I made note also of the fact that we were informing the Soviet Government that preliminary conversations were to be held, with a view to discovering whether they had interest in joining them; and added that we might wish likewise to inform the Chinese.

Mr. Pearson then inquired about other countries which had expressed an interest—for instance, the Netherlands. I said that, depending on the progress we made, I thought we could handle the conversations flexibly, drawing in such other countries as might be interested at an early stage. Plainly, the degree to which this would be practicable would turn in considerable measure on the progress we made.

This seemed quite satisfactory to Mr. Pearson, who said that he would inform his Government.

I concluded by saying that, as it seemed to me, we should probably be getting to conversations about the third week in March, with a view to having a United Nations conference in early summer, possibly June or thereabouts.

A. A. B[erle], Jr.