800.796/543: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

1208. On February 14 the Department informed First Secretary Wright of the British Embassy that we felt it desirable to include the Canadians in the aviation discussions referred to in Embassy’s 1258, February 14, 8 p.m. Furthermore, it was suggested that the Soviet Government be invited to participate and that the Chinese might also be asked. It is possible that the other British Dominions as well as certain other countries may be gradually brought into informal discussions prior to any formal United Nations conference, but it is not now planned to include them at the beginning. Incidentally, Washington has been suggested for the first discussions, and Ottawa for the United Nations conference.

The Department feels that the Canadians should be included with the British not only on account of their strategic position, but also because both the British and the Canadians approached the Secretary on this subject at about the same time. Howe32 also has said that he arranged to be present with Beaverbrook and Leathers at any conversations to be held in Washington. In short, for these and other reasons the Department feels there is ample justification for inviting the Canadians at this time.

With reference to the Embassy’s 1207, February 11, 11 p.m., the Canadians have furnished a 5–page memorandum describing their proposal for an international authority which would develop and supervise international air transport, but the Department is not familiar with any 20-page Canadian agenda. Please forward a copy of this.33

The agenda which the Department handed to the British and Canadian representatives follows:

[Here follows text of agenda printed on page 378.]

The substance of the first paragraph of this telegram was communicated to the Minister Counselor of the Canadian Embassy February 15. We have also telegraphed Harriman to advise the Soviet Government of the impending talks with the British and Canadians and the possible United Nations Conference and of our desire to have the Soviet Government join the talks at an early stage should it wish to do so.

  1. C. D. Howe, Canadian Minister of Munitions and Supply.
  2. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 14058, February 23; received February 29. The 23-page “agenda” was actually a Canadian draft of an international air transport convention.