The Chairman of the American Delegation to the International Civil Aviation Conference (Berle) to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: I have the honor to report the results of the International Civil Aviation Conference, held at Chicago from November 1 to December 7, 1944.


As you are aware, on August 29, 1944, the British Government, through Lord Beaverbrook, requested this Government forthwith to call an international conference on civil aviation, adding that if for political reasons the United States was unable to call such a conference, the British Government would be glad to call it in London. The original of this message is in the files of the State Department.

Later, on September 7, 1944, the Canadian Government delivered to the State Department a memorandum likewise requesting that we call such a conference. The Canadian Delegation in Chicago informed me that this was done not at the request of the British Government but separately.

In response to this, the invitation (Annex I)23a was sent to all the governments of the world with the exception of enemy and former enemy governments, and the Government of Argentina. All of the governments accepted this invitation with the exception of Saudi Arabia. Among the governments accepting was the Government of the Soviet Union, a copy of whose acceptance is in the files of the State Department. In this document notation was made that the Soviet Union decided to accept despite the fact that the neutrals were included as well as belligerents, no doubt in recognition of the fact that [Page 600] certain neutrals, notably Sweden and Portugal, held a geographic position requiring their action if world aviation lines were to be opened. Subsequently, the Soviet Union withdrew its acceptance on the ground that Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland were included in the Conference.

Draft agenda was likewise prepared (Annex II)24 and circulated to the various governments. No suggestions were made thereon, and it became the agenda of the Conference.

Shortly before the convening of the Conference, the British Government published a White Paper (Annex III)25 without prior consultation with the United States. This publication caused a certain amount of surprise, since it set out very firmly the British insistence that routes should be allocated and rates determined by an international body which should have overriding powers in the economic field. In preparatory discussions the United States had made the point that it could not delegate economic power to an international body except to carry out principles, agreements and law clearly agreed upon between governments.

The United States Delegation consisted of:

  • Adolf A. Berle, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State, Chairman
  • Josiah W. Bailey, Chairman, Committee on Commerce, United States Senate
  • Owen Brewster, Member, Committee on Commerce, United States Senate
  • Alfred L. Bulwinkle, House of Representatives
  • William A. M. Burden, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Air
  • Bear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, U.S.N., Retired
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Chairman, United States Section, Permanent Joint Board on Defense (Canada–United States)
  • L. Welch Pogue, Chairman, Civil Aeronautics Board
  • Edward Warner, Vice Chairman, Civil Aeronautics Board
  • Charles A. Wolverton, House of Representatives

The Delegation had the services of Mr. Robert A. Lovett, Assistant Secretary of War for Air, and Mr. Artemus L. Gates, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, as Consultants. As Advisers, who might also represent the point of view of the aviation industry, we had the benefit of the services of Colonel H. R. Harris, Chief of Staff, Air Transport Command, and formerly one of the principal operating officers of Pan American–Grace Airways; Commander Paul Richter, U.S.N.R., of the Bureau of Naval Operations, and previously one of the principal operating officers of T.W.A.; Mr. Ralph Damon, Vice President, American Airlines, Inc.; Mr. John C. Cooper, Vice [Page 601] President, Pan American Airways; Mr. Carleton Putnam, President, Chicago and Southern Airlines; and Mr. Frank Russell, National Aircraft War Production Council, Inc. A full list of the Delegation is appended as Annex IV.26


The Conference convened in Chicago on November 1. Before doing; anything else, I invited Lord Swinton, Chairman of the British Delegation, to lunch. After the usual courtesies, Lord Swinton spoke of the White Paper as the unchangeable British position. I pointed out that this White Paper was merely a re-statement of the British position as given to Dr. Warner and myself by Lord Beaverbrook in London in April 1944 in preparatory discussions. We had then made it clear that such a position was substantially impossible of acceptance, since it amounted to mere blanket delegation of power to an international body with no knowledge of what this body was designed to do. We had asked clarification of the British position which we had not got.

Lord Swinton then stated that the British desire was that they should have roughly one half of the Atlantic traffic, and that in general they felt that United States lines should not play any great part beyond the Atlantic gateways. “Did you really think we were going to change our minds?” he asked. The general conception appeared to be that American aviation had no particular reason to exist on the Continents of Europe, Africa and Asia, beyond the seacoast.

I observed that as far as I could see the British Government was asking not merely for United States money and for United States, planes, but likewise for United States traffic to put in her planes. Also, other countries besides the United States and Britain had to be considered; nor could we relinquish aviation as a global form of commerce. It did not seem to me that United States airmen would take kindly to the proposition that they were only of use when they were fighting to liberate other countries, after which they were to be asked to get out of the air. We thought there was a large and expanding field with ample room for everyone. Further, development of United States aviation was vital to United States defense and indeed of cardinal importance in stabilizing the post-war world. We felt that more money would be lost than made in operating world routes; but we did attach primary importance to the continuing right, of communication and the general spread of contacts, commercial and cultural and otherwise, through the constant shuttling of air traffic throughout the world. This seemed thus a major means by which the world could be unified in peace and understanding.

[Page 602]

At the Second Plenary Session of the Conference three complete statements of position were made: one on behalf of the United States Delegation in the form of a speech to which all of the United States Delegation had assented, even including Senator Brewster; which is attached as Annex V.27

Lord Swinton then made a speech setting out the British position, attached as Annex VI.28

Mr. C. D. Howe, Chairman of the Canadian Delegation, thereupon made a third position (attached as Annex VII)29 and propounded a Canadian draft designed to be a bridge between the British and the United States position. This draft is attached as Annex VIII.30

The Conference thereupon organized itself in the usual fashion. The details are aptly set forth in the Proceedings of the Conference and need not be covered here. We selected as Vice Presidents of the Conference the Chairman of the French Delegation and the Chairman of the Chinese Delegation; and gave chairmanships of the four main committees respectively to Mr. John Martin, of the South African Delegation (this chairmanship had been offered to Lord Swinton, but he declined, saying that he wished to be more in the position of advocate than of moderator), to Dr. M. P. L. Steenberghe, Chairman of the Netherlands Delegation, to myself in connection with routes, and to Dr. Hahnemann Guimarães, Chairman of the Brazilian Delegation. We likewise adopted as a rule that all sessions of the Conference and all sessions of the Committees should be open to the press; but subcommittees would be either open or closed at the discretion of the chairman.


The Committees went to work on non-controversial matters, but obviously could not make substantial progress on air transport matters until the exact positions of the United States and Great Britain had finally been clarified. In consequence, the three delegations which had submitted complete plans, namely, the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, went into inter-delegation conferences. These lasted ten days and were strenuous in the extreme. The various documents which appear in the voluminous Proceedings of the Conference largely reflect the propositions and counter-propositions which were made in an endeavor to find common ground.

(a) International Organization

The first problem discussed was that of the power of an international organization. We stated very bluntly that we simply could not cede [Page 603] dispositive power over United States air traffic to any international body in the present state of affairs. For one thing, there was no method or project of creating an impartial regulatory body: instead, the memberships in that body were to be apportioned among states and would represent political interests. Under these circumstances, any international body had to be in the position of applying exact defined rules agreed to by all hands. The fundamental problem was therefore drafting of the rules.

We said we could agree to an international body primarily to stimulate consultation and to make recommendations; and that if recommendations were not satisfactory, the international body might get together the interested parties and cause them to work out their difficulties. The enforcing power would have to remain in the several countries,—an international body at this stage of the game would have neither the machinery nor the prestige to enforce orders. The British finally acceded to this position, agreeing that obligations taken by treaty or agreement were quite adequate to meet the situation. Accordingly, agreement was reached on an international Council responsible to an international Assembly, the Council to have recommendatory powers; and failure to agree to recommendation would give rise to a prompt process of diplomatic consultation.

(b) Avoidance of Rate Wars

The second problem related to rates. There was general agreement that some method ought to be found of avoiding rate wars and other violences of competition which have disfigured transportation history. Substantial agreement was finally reached on a clause to the general effect that rates should be agreed upon by conferences of air operators analogous to ship operators conferences—a procedure which is specifically authorized by the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, and to which the United States can therefore agree. We were fortified in this by an opinion of the Attorney General to the general effect that such agreements were legal provided they were approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board. Since under the recommendatory procedure these agreements would come back to the various countries for acceptance, the procedure would be to have such operators agreements referred to the Civil Aeronautics Board. While the Civil Aeronautics Board does not have general power of enforcement, it could make it plain to any United States operator who violated an agreement that he would thereby forfeit diplomatic protection for his landing and transit rights abroad. It was the opinion of our operating advisers that no airline would violate an agreement thus made. By consequence, we felt that we had an adequate machinery.

Lest the operators conference become simply a new version of a cartel organization, the clause agreed on provided that no operator [Page 604] might be excluded and that every operator must be included; and that their agreements must come up for scrutiny before the international organization where any complaint of injustice or hardship could be heard. In such case they could be further reviewed through consultative action in case of serious difficulty.

The rate arrangements were, however, to be part of a general agreement on air transport. This clause was later withdrawn when the other possible arrangements on air transport went by the board.

(c) Rights of Commercial Entry

Third, we then got down to the main problem of commercial air rights. The British wanted agreements which would severely limit international rights in air transport. They were prepared to concede the so-called “freedoms of the air”, namely:

Freedom of innocent transit;
Freedom of technical stop;
Freedom to take traffic from the homeland out to other countries;
Freedom to take traffic from other countries back to the homeland—and possibly, to a limited extent,
Freedom to pick up and discharge traffic between points en route—

if, but only if, their operations were severely limited, traffic routes parceled out, and so forth, by an international body, or conceivably by rules appearing in a convention.

We naturally asked what these rules were to be.

The first position taken by the British was that they wished at all times a 50–50 division of the traffic between the United States and Great Britain in respect of the Atlantic Ocean. We said we were glad to concede equal opportunity, but we saw no reason for conceding half the traffic to Great Britain—especially since a very great part of the traffic would not be with Great Britain at all, Further, more than 50% of the traffic had been of American origin consisting as it did very largely of Americans going and coming to and from the Continent of Europe. The British formula was that each country should have a right to carry traffic “originated” in that country—origination meaning the traffic embarked therein—irrespective of how it got there or where it came from. We said that if we were talking national origin we should want to know where the traffic began, et cetera, but what we really wanted was reasonable and open competition. Ultimately the British abandoned this point. They then proposed, through the medium of an extremely intricate formula, a plan whose outline is virtually as follows:

Each country on establishing an international route should be allowed to run planes having capacity sufficient to take care of one [Page 605] half the traffic embarked in the country of origin, destined for the country to which the route was to go. Thereafter, when these planes ran “full” (which in operators language means running at an average of 65% payload), the number of planes or air-carrying capacity running between the points might be increased. The right of increase became known as the “escalator clause”.

This sounded simple enough. But on examination it becomes extremely complex. As long as planes are running merely between two points—say, New York to London—it amounts to acceptance of a free competitive system subject only to the requirement that before plane capacity on a run is increased, the operator must show that his existing plane capacity is running substantially full. But if the line runs between more than two countries—say, New York–London–Paris–Rome–Cairo—the question was whether the plane capacity could be increased not merely by through traffic running from New York to Paris, or from New York to Rome, or from New York to Cairo, but also by pick-up traffic which the plane might get between London and Paris, Paris and Rome, and Rome and Cairo. Our own statistics, thoughtfully provided by Dr. Edward Warner, show that between New York and Buenos Aires, for instance, only 15% of the traffic is “through”, from the United States terminal to each point. On that basis we would be limited to one plane a week between New York and Buenos Aires—whereas actually we have a thriving trade route with a great many more planes than that. On the basis of one plane a week the operation simply cannot be economical or self-supporting.

Accordingly, we argued that while the British idea offered a good arrangement for the United States across the Atlantic Ocean and possibly across the Pacific, in substance it strangled any United States line beyond the Atlantic gateways. It was even more bitterly unjust to the lines of every other country; for instance, the Netherlands could not operate its KLM line at all. We asked how the British BOAC could run a self-supporting line into India—or the French to the Far East, or the Belgians to the Belgian Congo. The British had no answer to this. It was evident that they expected other arrangements not appearing in the agreement would be made in respect of the European lines, though they at no time disclosed what these arrangements would be. They may have had in mind bilateral agreements with the countries through which they passed by which their lines might pick up traffic; while other lines might not.

It was plain that if the capacity which a United States line could run from, say, New York to Cairo, were limited by the through traffic from New York to Cairo and could only increase as the terminal-to-terminal traffic increased, no sane operator would ever establish such a line. And if the rule were bad for the United States, it [Page 606] would be hopelessly harsh to small countries like, say, the Netherlands, which do not have anything like the terminal traffic had by the United States.

At one point in the negotiations we thought we had arrived at an agreement with the British by which pick-up traffic might be taken on, and that this traffic might be included in “escalating”, that is, in adding plane capacity provided the planes were running full. This was the interpretation we put upon one of the drafts. Dr. Edward Warner, who was handling this phase of the negotiations with the British experts, had a statement from the British experts that they so construed it, and we thought we saw a possible agreement. However, after three days of negotiating on this basis, the British suddenly made it plain that they did not propose to have any pick-up traffic included as a basis for “escalation”,—and we were back where we started. I have some reason to believe that this was done on orders from London, but it may have been a misunderstanding between experts during an extremely wearying period of night negotiation.

The Canadians in a last desperate effort to bring about a compromise agreement submitted a plan which went very far towards bridging the gap between the United Kingdom and the United States. With some slight modifications which we were prepared to work out, and if the British had been willing to agree on the escalation features, this would have been an acceptable compromise. However, the British did not agree. It was then that the American draft of what later became the Air Transport Agreement was worked out, first as a proposed Protocol and later as a proposed Executive Agreement.

Lord Swinton at this point stated that he was absolutely limited by his instructions and could do nothing. We accordingly agreed that we would put our respective positions before a joint subcommittee comprising representatives of all the countries at the Conference. Swinton based his entire position in favor of his proposed limitation on the ground that smaller countries had to be protected against having their traffic taken away from them,—apparently by United States competition.

By consequence, after ten days of extremely difficult negotiation, we reported out to the Conference the points on which we had been able to agree; and also our alternative plans.31 The British plan was one of limitation, as above described; ours was a plan by which each country, having established its transport lines, might increase capacity as rapidly as its planes filled up.

There followed the tensest debate of the Conference. Lord Swinton presented the British view, urging the necessity of protecting [Page 607] small nations from competition. I presented the United States view which was for freedom of the air, with competition, and without cartel or other similar agreements, and without limitation except for the proposed arrangement against rate wars, and the “full plane” clause.

(The debate was in fact a modern version of the old controversy when Grotius argued for the freedom of the seas, and Selden argued for the closed seas; a debate which went on in the 17th century until it was finally settled by the British adopting the freedom of the seas. Another almost exact historical analogy is the debate which went on in this country when Livingston in New York tried to argue for limitation and allocation of steamship transportation as against Fulton and Daniel Webster who argued for open transportation and freedom of development of steamships.)

The position taken by the United States was, of course, its classic view. Historically, this country maintained it in connection with the sea. In air matters, the United States Delegation advocated freedom of air transit at Paris in 1919, and at Habana in 1929.32 The United States Delegation at Chicago solidly supported the policy,—with the exception of Senator Brewster who has continuously argued for monopoly arrangements made between the United States and Great Britain, on the theory that the modern world required proceeding on the basis of power politics.

The close of the debate was dramatic and somewhat unexpected. Fifteen small countries in quick succession got up and protested against the British position. They said it meant strangulation and, far from protecting them, it virtually excluded them from the air. This position, which was supported by all the expert opinion of the Conference, was most ably argued by the Netherlands, obviously to the great surprise of Lord Swinton. At the close of it, the British position was smashed flat, even the Canadians deserting the British and the New Zealanders declining to support their position.

The following day, after consultation, the United States Delegation proposed that all matters which had been agreed upon be embodied in a convention; and that a side agreement consisting of the mutual grant of the “five freedoms” be drawn, open to those countries which wished the exchange as between themselves. This was done after consultation with the Chinese, who urged it; with the delegates of the 19 other American republics, who asked that this be done; and with the delegates of the Scandinavian bloc, which was very firm for some such arrangement. The Netherlanders, Turks, and Spaniards likewise urged some such arrangement.

We accordingly drafted and put in a document along this line.

[Page 608]


Lord Swinton then asked whether we would not join in a motion transmitting all of the matters not yet agreed upon to the proposed Interim Council for further study and report. This was in accordance with the agenda of the Conference, since at the time of calling the Conference all of us had contemplated this possibility. I declined to make the motion but said that if Lord Swinton would make it, I would second it, and in subcommittee the motion was made and seconded. Mayor La Guardia gave notice that he would like to speak on the motion in Plenary Session.

The following day a Plenary Session of the Joint Subcommittee was held, and La Guardia spoke.33 He said that if we could not get “five freedoms”, we ought to get four, and if we could not get four, we ought to at least have freedom of transit and technical stop.

Lord Swinton then made a speech which was equivocal but which was interpreted as meaning that the British would join in agreement on the “two freedoms”—right of transit and technical stop. He said he would be glad to make his position plain if a motion to that effect were made. At once and unexpectedly, the Netherlands Delegate made such a motion. This obviously took the British Delegation by surprise. I was presiding and I adjourned the Plenary Session, referring the motion to the Joint Subcommittee for discussion and report.

On the following day, the British stated that they were prepared to accept agreement covering the “two freedoms”—right of transit and technical stop. This in turn surprised us, because Swinton had steadily and bitterly opposed any such agreement throughout the entire Conference—saying that they could not touch freedom of transit and technical stop except as a part of an agreement including the “controls” on which we had been unable to agree.* Thereupon, taking the United States document proposing mutual exchange of the “five freedoms”, the British drafted an almost exactly similar document [Page 609] containing mutual exchange of the “two freedoms” among the countries signatory to it. This, as a second side agreement, was proposed and approved by the Conference.

For the United States, this was a real gain.

The countries which agreed to exchange between themselves the “five freedoms” were isolated blocs in various parts of the world—and the blocs could not interconnect. But with freedom of transit and technical stop these countries could interconnect and thereby enable commerce to be carried on.

Meanwhile, we had been canvassing the question of bilateral agreements, along the lines of a standard form which was being worked out in Committee III,34 with those countries which might not wish to sign multilateral documents granting freedom of transit and commercial entry. We obtained a number of understandings looking towards these agreements. Among the countries which proposed to enter into such agreements were: Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Iceland, Greece, Turkey, Sweden (who also proposed to sign the “five freedoms”), Czechoslovakia, Poland, Lebanon, Iraq, and Canada.35 It was likewise plain that a number of other countries wished to enter negotiations as rapidly as possible. We were prepared to carry these to a conclusion at Chicago. However, on Monday, December 4, a shift in the State Department personnel took place and the Chairman of the United States Delegation, having been Assistant Secretary of State in charge of air matters, ceased to hold that position.36 This left no One in Chicago authorized to sign such agreements; and it likewise created some doubt in the minds of the other countries as to whether a shift in United States air policy was not imminent. They were later reassured on that score; but a short period of difficulty ensued which was happily worked out by the very solid and self-assured conduct of the United States Delegation to which I am extremely grateful. Some of these documents have since been signed in Washington. A number of other negotiations are pending, capable of being brought to a successful close if they are followed up.

While this had been going on, a huge amount of work had been going on also in the field of standardizing technical practices, services, [Page 610] and requirements. This is being separately reported on by the Civil Aeronautics Board, and no better testimony to the tremendous scope of the work can be found than in the very large number of agreed documents in ten separate technical fields which appear as annexes to the main Convention and the interim agreements. Technicians generally agree that this is a major advance in handling technical arrangements so that planes can fly safely throughout the world, which has yet been taken. I cannot pay too high tribute to the corps of United States experts who worked up the material in advance of the Conference, and were able to convince the foreign delegations that they were both practicable and wise. In general, it may be said that the United States technicians gave a base for the handling of technical air practices throughout the world, and that the world, having examined them, was glad to accept the base they proposed.

The documents proposing an Interim Council and Assembly to handle air matters until such time as a permanent convention might be ratified by not less than twenty-six nations, were so drawn as to leave the choice of the first Interim Council and the seat thereof to the Conference itself. The seat was disposed of after a spirited contest between the French Delegation, which wished to have the seat at Paris, and the American countries who wanted to have it in Canada. In a close vote, Canada was selected as the choice for the seat of the Interim Council, and the choice of the permanent seat was left for the Assembly as and when the Convention should have been ratified.

Likewise, the Conference was to choose the Interim Council, and this precipitated a tide of electioneering and political deals which would have done credit to a municipal election. The American republics argued that since they constituted more than a third of the countries represented, they were entitled to seven out of the 21 seats on the Council. The British obviously wanted a much heavier representation of Europe, and later it appeared that they were insistent on the representation of India—a point which did not appeal to most of the other countries present because they thought India did not have an independent air policy. At a closed Plenary Session of the Conference elections were held by ballot, the results of which appear in the Proceedings. The memberships in the Council were to be distributed among three categories:

Major air operators, which, under the ruling of the Executive Committee, were to be eight in number, leaving one vacancy to be filled by the Soviet Union should she later adhere to the arrangement;
Countries which contributed facilities in air operation, which were fixed at five in number;
Eight countries which were to be so distributed as to assure geographical representation of the various regions of the world.

[Page 611]

The balloting finally resulted in a not unintelligent distribution of countries in these various categories; giving, however, seven seats to Latin America and six to the Continent of Europe, and not including India. At the closing Plenary Session of the Conference, Norway, which had been elected to the Council, proposed to retire in favor of India. I then consulted with the American bloc, saying that I thought it would be a useful and generous gesture if El Salvador, which had been elected as representing Central America, would resign in favor of India and decline to accept the Norway resignation. Salvador declined to do this; but Cuba, which had played a leading part, offered to make the sacrifice. The attitude of the Cuban Delegation is entitled to the highest commendation in this regard; and I may add that I think it creates an obligation for the United States to support Cuba on the next occasion when a Latin American choice has to be made. It was not easy for the Cuban Delegation, which had won a fair victory in an open field, to sacrifice this position. For that matter, there was something ironical in having Cuba dash to the rescue of the British Empire which had been unable to obtain general support for her insistence on the inclusion of India.

By unanimous consent it was determined not to accept Norway’s renunciation, to accept Cuba’s with great thanks, and to elect India in her place. Thereupon the British and the Indians, who had been saying in substance that if arrangements were not made they would not sign any papers, came into camp.

The Conference thereupon came to a close.

In result, we have:

A permanent convention providing for permanent international organization, and providing for technical standardization, and bringing up to date the air navigation provisions of the Conventions of Paris and of Habana;
An interim agreement capable of being put into effect by executive action covering substantially the same ground ad interim prior to ratification of the Convention;
A document by which the signatories thereto mutually exchange rights of freedom of transit and freedom of non-traffic stop (document of the “two freedoms”) capable in my judgment of being put into effect as an executive agreement under the powers delegated to the President and the Civil Aeronautics Board by the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938;
A document by which the signatories reciprocally grant to each other the “five freedoms” (commonly known as the “five freedoms” or United States document), likewise in my judgment capable of being put into effect as an executive agreement; and
A set of completed or partially completed negotiations for bilateral agreements between the United States and a considerable number of countries in various parts of the world.

[Page 612]

So far as the strictly American interest is concerned, the combination of bilateral agreements, right of transit and technical stop, and “five freedoms” agreements vastly enlarged possibilities presently available to American aviation. The full benefits for American aviation cannot be completely ascertained until the negotiations for bilateral agreements are concluded; but the commitments obtained are such as to make it plain that these, if properly handled, can be brought to prompt fruition.

On the international side, the great issue of air transport has been faced and met; the positions are fully understood; an international organization capable of administering the agreements made has been established, and the same organization is charged with the duty of carrying forward further study in those respects on which agreement was not reached.

This is rather more than the Department of State and the United States Delegation had expected to be able to obtain when the Conference assembled.

Finally, a substantial beginning has been made towards opening the air to commerce. It is not too much to say that we entered the Conference in the law and atmosphere of the 17th century; and we came out with a fair prospect of obtaining 20th century conditions.

Faithfully yours,

Adolf A. Berle, Jr.

[The following documents were opened for signature at Chicago on December 7, 1944:

Interim Agreement on International Civil Aviation, Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 469, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1516.
International Air Services Transit Agreement, Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 487, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1693.
International Air Transport Agreement, Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 488, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1701.
Convention on International Civil Aviation, Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1591, or 61 Stat. (pt. 2) 1180.

In a circular telegram of February 8, 1945, the Department of State announced its acceptance of the three agreements, with understandings; for text of telegram, see Department of State Bulletin, February 11, 1945, pages 198–199. For texts of letters exchanged between Senator Bilbo and Acting Secretary of State Grew on May 23 and June 9, 1945, concerning the acceptance of the three agreements as Executive Agreements, see ibid., June 17, 1945, pages 1101–1103.

[Page 613]

The Convention on International Civil Aviation was sent to the President for transmission to the Congress in a covering letter from Acting Secretary of State Grew dated March 5, 1945; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, March 18, 1945, pages 436–438.

A tabulation, compiled to November 23, 1945, containing dates of signature of the three agreements and the convention and subsequent action taken by the various countries, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, November 25, 1945, page 873.]

  1. For text of invitation, see Department of State Bulletin, September 17, 1944, p. 298.
  2. For text of draft agenda, see Department of State Bulletin, October 1, 1944, p. 349.
  3. British Cmd. 6561: International Air Transport.
  4. See Department of State Publication No. 2820, Proceedings of the International Civil Aviation Conference, vol. i, pp. 40–41.
  5. See Proceedings of the International Civil Aviation Conference, vol. i, pp. 55–63.
  6. Ibid., pp. 63–67.
  7. Ibid., pp. 67–74.
  8. Ibid., pp. 570–591.
  9. See verbatim minutes of joint plenary meeting of Committees I, III, and IV, November 22, 1944, Proceedings of the International Civil Aviation Conference, vol. i, pp. 445 ff.
  10. See Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. i, pp. 145 ff., and ibid., 1929, vol. i, pp. 489 ff., respectively.
  11. See Proceedings of the International Civil Aviation Conference, vol. i, pp. 493–498.
  12. I think that part of the reason for this was that everyone by this time knew exactly the real interests involved. Freedom of transit and technical stop meant on the British part grant of stop at Newfoundland, which makes transit possible across the Atlantic. At the moment, there is no commercial route across the Atlantic which does not involve the transit of Newfoundland and a stop at a Newfoundland point—this being the nearest North American landing both to Iceland and to the Azores. On our side, freedom of transit means permitting a stop at Hawaii or the Aleutians, thereby making it possible to connect Australia and New Zealand with Canada, an old and entirely legitimate ambition. Had the British opposed publicly the “two freedoms”, they would have been in a position of keeping Australia and Canada disconnected, and at the same time of endeavoring to prevent American commercial crossings in the Atlantic—a position which would have been hard to justify before the public opinion both of the United States and of the British Commonwealth. [Footnote in the original.]
  13. See resolution VIII containing the standard form of agreement for provisional air routes, Proceedings of the International Civil Aviation Conference, vol. i, pp. 127–129.
  14. By the end of December 1944, agreements had been negotiated with three countries. An agreement with Spain was signed on December 2, 1944; for text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 432, or 58 Stat. (pt. 2) 1473. On December 16, 1944, agreements were signed with Denmark and Sweden; for texts, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series Nos. 430 and 431, or 58 Stat. (pt. 2) 1458 and 1466.
  15. For information regarding the resignation of Mr. Berle as Assistant Secretary of State, see Department of State Bulletin, December 10, 1944, p. 694.