No. 1188
The British Embassy to the Department of State

Ref: 21/334/45


In the Embassy’s note No. 312 of June 211 it was stated that His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom had no intention of opposing the United States Government or any other Government in the acquisition of landing rights for civil aircraft in any country. It has become evident, however, that some misunderstanding exists over the interpretation of the phrase “landing rights” and the Foreign Office think it desirable that a comprehensive statement of the present British position in regard to international civil aviation should be given to the Department.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom adhere to the proposals which they put forward “at the Chicago Conference.2 There they readily accepted the proposal that Freedoms 1 and 23 should be freely given and received and they will be ready to extend those Freedoms, under the Transit Agreement, to every country which is, or becomes, a party to it.
His Majesty’s Government hoped that Freedoms 3 and 4 might be included in an international convention. While they believed that Freedom 5 would more properly be the subject of bilateral or collateral agreements negotiated between the countries concerned, they were prepared to deal with this privilege also in a multilateral convention, provided that agreement could be reached on the governing conditions.
Those matters on which it proved impossible to reach agreement at Chicago stand referred for further consideration and report by the Council of the Interim Civil Aviation Organization about to be set up at Montreal. It is the earnest desire of His Majesty’s Government that a solution satisfactory to the United States Government, His Majesty’s Government and the other interested Governments may be found.
In the meantime, the only alternative course in the view of His Majesty’s Government is to proceed by way of bilateral agreements for the exchange on equitable terms of the privileges in question. In entering into any such agreements His Majesty’s Government propose [Page 1190] to provide for the following matters, which they hope to see incorporated in a multilateral convention:
In order to avoid uneconomic competition and reduce, and ultimately eliminate, subsidies, capacity should be settled and varied by agreement, so as to provide a reasonable equilibrium between the aggregate of services and the amount of traffic offering on a particular route and that capacity should be fairly divided between the countries concerned. His Majesty’s Government also consider that any agreement should contain convenient machinery for the fixing of rates: and should provide for reference of matters in dispute to the arbitration of a well-qualified independent body.
His Majesty’s Government in any agreement would, where appropriate, propose the insertion of a provision on the line of the “United Nations Clause” which the United States Delegation in common with other Delegations accepted in principle at the Chicago Conference.
His Majesty’s Government would also, in any agreement, propose to deal with Freedom 5, in so far as it is relevant. In dealing with this Freedom they still consider that the criteria which they proposed in the final British plan at Chicago (Conference Document 4294) are the most practical and flexible that have yet been suggested. These criteria were substantially as follows:—
The capacity to which a through airline operator would be entitled in order to carry traffic embarked in or for his own country;
The air transport needs of the area through which he passes judged in relation to public convenience and necessity;
The position of regional and local air transport development;
Economy of through airline operation.
His Majesty’s Government propose to be guided by the above considerations when concluding agreements with other Governments and to give advice in accordance with these considerations when their advice is sought by other Governments.
In this connection it may be appropriate to draw attention to the second paragraph of the Embassy’s note under reference which sets out the views of His Majesty’s Government on the provision of airports for international services. Since these views are based on the Chicago Agreements it is assumed that they are held equally by the United States Government.
  1. Document No. 548, printed in vol. i.
  2. i. e., the International Civil Aviation Conference held at Chicago from November 1 to December 7, 1944.
  3. For a description of the “Five Freedoms”, see vol. i, document No. 547.
  4. Text in Proceedings of the International Civil Aviation Conference, Chicago Illinois, November 1–December 7, 1944 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1948–1949; Department of State publication No. 2820), vol. i, p. 519.
  5. This aide-mémoire bears the following manuscript notation: “Delivered to TRCCharles P. Taft by Geoffrey [Roger?] Makins 7/27/45 10:30 A.M.”