The British Embassy to the Department of State

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom welcome the desire of the United States Government expressed in the State Department’s Aide-Mémoire of January 26th, 1944, and in subsequent discussion with Mr. A. Berle Jr., Assistant Secretary of State, for discussions on post-war civil air transport and agree that these matters should be discussed in a preliminary way with a view to a full international conference at some convenient date.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom understand the United States Government to be anxious that representatives of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics should be given an opportunity to be present at the preliminary discussions and that the question whether an invitation should be sent to China is also under consideration. Both these ideas are welcomed by His Majesty’s Government, who note also that the idea of the United States Government is that the talks should be at a high policy level.
His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom feel that in view of the scope and level of the proposed discussions it would be appropriate that the Dominions other than Canada should also participate in them and assume that in the circumstances which have developed the United States Government will agree to extend an invitation to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom believe that at this stage discussions should be on broad principles of policy rather than on any cut and dried plan.
In response to the invitation transmitted to them by the United States Government, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have prepared a statement in the form of a possible agenda including major items which appear to them to be suitable for discussions. The statement forms an enclosure to this memorandum.
In submitting this agenda for consideration, in the hope of early discussions, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would be glad to receive the preliminary views of the United States Government on the principles outlined therein.

Draft Agenda

1. His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom affirms its desire to achieve the maximum degree of international co-operation in the development, operation and regulation of air transport in the interests of mankind as a whole. His Majesty’s Government therefore propose that an agenda for the suggested preliminary meeting with the United States should include:

Discussion and agreement upon:

The establishment of an international convention to be administered by an international air transport authority;
The elimination of uneconomic competition by regulation of:
  • a. Frequency and allocation of services;
  • b. Rates of air carriage in relation to speeds and standards of accommodation, and by
  • c. Control of subsidy.
Responsibility for the provision of airports to agreed standards for international air services;
The setting up of arbitration machinery to decide appeals on matters of air transport which may be in dispute between nations.
The definition of the degree of freedom of the air which can be conceded.
The feasibility of establishing international operating agencies on particular routes or in particular areas, especially for security reasons.
A plan and procedure for a full International Conference on International Air Transport.

2. International Air Transport Authority.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would support the establishment of an International Air Transport authority to administer a convention which would:

Prescribe safety regulations, such as rules of the air, airworthiness, licensing of personnel and aircraft, ground signals, [Page 385] meteorological procedure, prohibition of the carriage of dangerous goods, etc. and provide enforcement regulations;
Provide elimination of uneconomic competition by regulation of the frequencies of service and rates in relation to speed, etc. and standards of passenger accommodation. Subsidies should then be kept within reasonable bounds;
Provide standardisation so far as possible of radio equipment and technique, ground services and meteorological facilities;
Deal with customs procedure, passenger formalities and sanitary regulations;
Lay down conditions for exemption from taxation of fuel and oil;
Provide licensing of international air operators on the basis that licences would be issued only to those operators who both undertook to observe the International Convention and agreed to abide by the rulings on the rates of carriage, frequencies, etc. The licence would be withdrawn from any operator who disregarded these obligations;
Provide that States participating in the Convention would deny facilities to any unlicensed operator;
Provide collective and requisite information about services maintained, operational costs, nature and extent of subsidies, rates of carriage, landing fees etc.;
Establish the principle that all States should be responsible for the provision of ground facilities needed in their territories in accordance with the specifications laid down in the Convention. Should certain countries be unable or unwilling to provide the necessary facilities, special arrangements which might involve financial assistance would be necessary;
Provide arbitration machinery;
Define the routes of services to which the Convention should apply:
Define whatever doctrine of freedom of the air is generally acceptable in the context of the Convention.

3. Freedom of the Air.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would welcome a greater measure of freedom of the air than existed before the war. But this question cannot be considered as a separate and self-contained issue and the extent to which freedom of the air can be realised must depend on the general acceptance of an enlightened international settlement.

4. International Operating Agencies.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would support the establishment of international operating agencies on particular routes or in particular areas to deal with services now operated by enemy air lines and routes passing over areas of vital security interest.

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5. Security.

It would also be necessary to consider the relationship between the proposed International Air Transport authority and any organization which may establish a system for the purpose of maintaining future world security.

6. International Conference.

The plan and procedure of the proposed full international confererence must be considered.