The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Halifax)6

Excellency: As I am sure you are already aware, the United States Government in connection with the prosecution of the war and to expedite the delivery of supplies and lend-lease material to our allies has constructed or improved in whole or in part a large number of airports in various countries including countries in the Near and Middle East. While there appears to be no question with respect to the right of United States military aircraft and aircraft of the United States Air Transport Command to use these airports at the present time, in the absence of any clear understanding a question may arise [Page 491] at a later date with respect to the right of United States civil aircraft to use these airports when the time comes for the establishment of commercial services through these regions.

This Government considers that airports which it has helped to construct or improve should be available for the use of United States commercial aircraft on international services or civil aircraft conducting private flights as may be authorized by the countries in whose jurisdiction these airports lie. No infringement of sovereignty is involved; nor does the Government of the United States seek ownership, control or exclusive rights.

It is the intention of this Government, therefore, at a suitable time to seek agreement with the countries in whose territory these airports are located on matters relating to general landing rights and the use of airports.

In so far as concerns the use of airports in these countries, such as Payne Field at Cairo, Egypt,7 the airport at Abadan in Iran, and others, I feel confident that your Government will not interpose any objection to the efforts of this Government to obtain general landing rights for United States aircraft and the right to use suitable airports, including those referred to above, under terms as favorable as those accorded the aircraft of any nation utilizing the airports for international civil aviation.

The receipt at an early date of a statement of your Government’s attitude in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Accept [etc.]

Cordell Hull
  1. Text transmitted to the Ambassador in Iran in airgram A–94, October 27, 12:40 p.m., with the instruction: “It is desired that you similarly advise the Iranian Government. For your information Department contemplates that discussions with respect to these matters will be undertaken during or immediately following the forthcoming Aviation Conference.” (891.248/9–3044) For correspondence on this subject, see vol. ii , section entitled “Preliminary and exploratory discussions regarding international civil aviation; conference held at Chicago, November 1–December 7, 1944.”
  2. For correspondence regarding United States representations concerning postwar civil air rights in Egypt, see pp. 56 ff.