The Secretary of State to the United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy)

No. 183

Sir: A telegram dated August 3, 194514 from Assistant Secretary Clayton to Mr. Stokeley W. Morgan, Chief of the Aviation Division of the Department, requested that you be furnished with full information on civil aviation arrangements already negotiated with various [Page 1470] European countries, as well as the Department’s program for further negotiations in this field. The following is a summary of arrangements now effective as well as the status or prospects of other negotiations.

Significance of the Chicago Agreements.

Before discussing the civil aviation rights which this Government has obtained or desires to obtain from the various European countries, it may be helpful to give as background a brief description of the various agreements drawn up at the International Civil Aviation Conference which took place in Chicago during the latter part of 1944. There are transmitted herewith one copy each of Department of State publication 2348 entitled Blueprint For World Civil Aviation, and Department of State Bulletin of December 31, 1944, both of which contain articles describing the work of the conference and the specific agreements. The so-called Two Freedoms Agreement was intended to grant among the participating countries the rights of transit and non-traffic stop, while the so-called Five Freedoms Agreement grants these first two freedoms as well as the right to carry traffic from and to a country whose nationality the aircraft possesses (the Third and Fourth Freedoms), and the right to carry traffic between intermediate countries on the route (the Fifth Freedom). Also forwarded herewith is a mimeographed chart showing which countries have accepted these multilateral Transit (Two Freedoms) and Transport (Five Freedoms) Agreements, as well as the Interim Agreement and Convention.

While a number of countries have signed the Transit and Transport Agreements, it will be noted that not so many have accepted them. Netherlands is the only European country which has so far accepted the Transport Agreement; it made a reservation on the Fifth Freedom, but it is understood that this reservation will be removed shortly. As for the Transit Agreement, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland (former government) and the United Kingdom are those European countries which have so far agreed to give the Two Freedom rights to the other countries also accepting this agreement. It will be seen that these agreements are helpful, so far as they go, in getting American civil air routes in operation, but owing to the fact that more countries have not yet accepted them, such rights must be supplemented by other arrangements in the form of bilateral air transport agreements with the countries concerned.

Civil Aeronautics Board’s Route Pattern.

On July 5, 1945, with the approval of President Truman, the Civil Aeronautics Board announced its so-called North Atlantic Route Case [Page 1471] Decision16 which awarded operating certificates to three United States airlines for routes across the North Atlantic into Europe and the Near and Middle East. Attached hereto is a copy of the Board’s press release of that date,17 together with a map18 showing the routes awarded to each of the three American companies. Naturally, the inauguration of these services is dependent on the acquisition of appropriate landing rights in the countries concerned, as well as the availability of suitable aircraft. It will be noted from this map that each carrier is assigned a certain area; that is, the carrier is at liberty to revise its routes in its respective area subject to the approval of the Board and the foreign governments or other authorities concerned. For example, one route shows Pan American Airways operating from Brussels to Praha, but if the company desired to include Munich, for example, it could do so subject to the aforementioned conditions and without the necessity of a public hearing before the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Bilateral Agreements Already Negotiated.

Bilateral air transport agreements were concluded between the United States and the following countries on the dates indicated: Spain, December 2, 1944; Sweden, December 16, 1944; Denmark, December 16, 1944; Iceland, January 27, 1945; Ireland, February 3, 1945; Switzerland, August 3, 1945.19 With the exception of the agreement with Spain, all of these agreements follow the so-called standard form drawn up at the Chicago Conference. The agreement with Spain was concluded a few days before the close of the Chicago Conference, and although the language is somewhat different from those later negotiated with the other countries mentioned, its provisions have substantially the same effect. All of these bilateral agreements (a copy of each is forwarded herewith) provide for the Five Freedoms, which means that there is no restriction in the agreements prohibiting or curtailing the carriage of traffic to other countries on the route.

The above-mentioned route announcement made by the Civil Aeronautics Board will necessitate a few changes in the route annexes of the agreements with Spain and Sweden, but it is believed that these modifications can be made without difficulty, under the terms of the agreements. The agreement with Denmark was negotiated by the Danish Minister in Washington and therefore it became effective on a provisional basis and is subject to confirmation “by a free Danish Government when such Government shall have been established following [Page 1472] the liberation of Denmark”. The Department has instructed its Mission at Copenhagen to request the present Danish Government to confirm the agreement on a definitive basis.

Countries With Which Further Arrangements Should Be Made.

As will be noted below, draft bilateral air transport agreements are in the progress of negotiation with a number of other European countries. The draft agreements in each case are virtually identical with those already concluded with the countries mentioned above. An exception, of course, is the route annexes which naturally vary with each country. The agreements and the accompanying route annexes are intended to provide full Fifth Freedom privileges for United States airlines, and any counter proposals to include limitations on Fifth Freedom traffic so far have been resisted by the Department. However, a number of countries are reluctant to grant the full Five Freedoms, and a question now under consideration by the Department and the Civil Aeronautics Board is whether this Government should agree to certain restrictions on Fifth Freedom or intermediate traffic as a means of getting United States airlines into operation, or should hold out in an effort to conclude them on the same basis as the aforementioned agreements already negotiated. In following this latter approach, the Department has endeavored to convince the foreign governments that it would be preferable not to incorporate arbitrary restrictions in the agreements at the beginning, and that should regional air services be unduly prejudiced by competition from the United States international trunk line service, such problems could be equitably adjusted as they arise.

The remaining countries in Europe, where satisfactory rights have not yet been obtained in order to realize the Civil Aeronautics Board’s announcement of July 5, 1945, are discussed below in alphabetical order.

Austria. The Department plans at an early date to instruct its representative in Vienna21 to explore the possibility of obtaining the appropriate rights for operation of the proposed United States commercial air service through Austria.

Belgium. A draft bilateral agreement was presented in March 1945 to the Belgian Government.22 In the preliminary discussions the Belgians indicated a desire to make reservations on Fifth Freedom traffic, but it subsequently appeared that our representatives were successful in persuading them to leave the matter in abeyance and to negotiate future difficulties as they arose. The Belgians were [Page 1473] also concerned over what they regarded as a lack of reciprocity in exchange for this Government’s request for traffic rights at Leopoldville. The Embassy was then instructed to ignore traffic rights at Leopoldville in the present negotiations, with the thought that these could be negotiated later. In July it appeared that a substantial agreement had been reached on the technical level, but subsequent telegrams from Brussels indicate that the Belgians are now fearful of offending the British, who have made known their objection to unlimited Fifth Freedom privileges. This has created political implications with the result that the matter is being referred to the Belgian Council of Ministers, which already has a rather full agenda of pending matters.

Bulgaria. No commercial stop in Bulgaria by an American airline is contemplated by the Civil Aeronautics Board’s route announcement, although Pan American’s route into Istanbul transits Bulgaria on the route sectors from both Belgrade and Bucharest. The following is an excerpt from despatch no. 35, June 9, 1945 from the United States Mission at Sophia:23

“The movements of all aircraft in Bulgaria are now under the strict control of the Allied (Soviet) High Command, and civil and private aviation will have little opportunity of development until the conclusion of a peace treaty and the normalization of Bulgaria’s internal and external affairs.”

Czechoslovakia. Following the Civil Aeronautics Board’s route announcement, a draft agreement was sent to the Embassy at Praha for consideration of the Czech Government.24 No reaction has yet been received.25 The Czechs at one time seemed inclined to accept the Five Freedoms Agreement, and have already accepted the Two Freedoms Agreement.

Finland. It is contemplated that negotiations for the acquisition of landing rights in Finland will be started after the resumption of diplomatic relations between our two governments.26 However, despatch no. 1805 of June 12, 1945 from Moscow makes the following comment: “Furthermore, so long as Finland is under an armistice regime it is not likely that the Soviet authorities will permit United [Page 1474] States aircraft to proceed to Helsinki. More likely they will endeavor to connect up American or other lines in Stockholm or some point outside the Soviet Union or Soviet controlled areas.”

France. A bilateral air transport agreement (Executive Agreement series 153) between the United States and France became effective on August 15, 1939. Pan American Airways operated a few schedules into Marseille before the war. This agreement provides for an equal number of frequencies, not less than two round trips a week, to be operated by air services of each country. Since the 1939 arrangement is believed to be inadequate for post-war conditions, a draft bilateral agreement following the Chicago standard form was presented to the French Government in March 1945. Since then the French have displayed no eagerness whatever to accept the new bilateral agreement, and very little progress has been made in the actual negotiations. The French officials seem reluctant to enter into any such commitment until they can be assured of operating reciprocal services. In this connection they not only expressed a desire to obtain the latest types of modern four-engine aircraft, but have also suggested pooling arrangements between carriers, which this Government does not favor. The U. S. War Department is assigning 20 DC–4 aircraft to the three American airlines certificated for North Atlantic services, and the Department and the Civil Aeronautics Board made strong efforts to have some of these aircraft assigned to France and a few other European countries on the grounds that this would facilitate the acquisition of landing rights in those countries. However, the War Department has insisted that the 20 DC–4’s are to be used almost exclusively for redeployment and cannot be assigned to foreign carriers, so the Department is now exploring the possibility that American manufacturers can offer new four-motored aircraft to foreign airlines during the first part of 1946. If the Department is successful in arranging for French air services to buy suitable transoceanic aircraft in the near future this might help to expedite the conclusion of the bilateral air transport agreement, although the present political atmosphere in France still makes the early conclusion of this agreement uncertain.28

Great Britain. Pre-war arrangements with Great Britain provide for two trans-Atlantic round trips a week to be operated each by Pan American Airways and Imperial Airways (now BOAC). Negotiations with Great Britain for an up-to-date bilateral agreement have not been started. At the Chicago Conference the British Delegation was obviously opposed to the multilateral grant of unlimited [Page 1475] Fifth Freedom privileges, and so far the different aviation viewpoints of this country and Great Britain have not been wholly reconciled.

When it became obvious that the British were blocking the efforts of this Government to obtain landing rights in the Near East and other countries, the Department addressed a note to the British Government29 referring to previous undertakings between our two countries on civil aviation matters, and stating that the United States would welcome assurances that the British Government would not oppose present efforts to acquire landing rights for United States commercial air services in the Near and Middle East. Under date of April 26, 1945, the British Foreign Office made a preliminary reply30 to the effect that its Government had no desire whatever to preclude the United States from obtaining landing rights in the Near and Middle East or anywhere else. However, as had occurred in a number of instances, when other governments asked for British views on United States proposals, the British naturally replied by stating the principles upheld by them at the Chicago Conference, which include the grant of Fifth Freedom privileges on a conditional rather than an unconditional basis. In its aforementioned note, the Foreign Office said that a further reply was intended. This was received under date of June 21, 1945,31 and said: “His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have no intention of opposing the United States Government or any other government in the acquisition of landing rights for civil aircraft in any country. In negotiating with governments for civil aviation landing rights, His Majesty’s Government are bound by the agreements reached at Chicago and would of course follow the practice there contemplated and they assume that the United States Government would propose to follow the same procedure”. At the time the latter note was delivered to the Department, it was made clear informally that this Government was not satisfied with the British reply, and that the Department had received a number of reports substantiating the obstructionist tactics of the British, including Lord Swinton (former Minister of Civil Aviation). The British now contend that their reference to “landing rights” did not comprehend unlimited Fifth Freedom privileges.

Reports attributed to the British Air Ministry representative in the Middle East indicate that the British have been working on some sort of formula for the allotment of Fifth Freedom traffic in Europe, and that their proposals may be made public at the forthcoming meeting of the Interim Council of the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization scheduled to convene in Montreal on August [Page 1476] 15, 1945. An informal letter from Sir William Hildred, Director of Civil Aviation in Great Britain, to Mr. Edward Warner, Vice Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, made some suggestions as to reconciling the British and American differences as evidenced at the Chicago Conference, but his letter indicates that the British have made little, if any, change in their past position.

It is perhaps too early to predict the results of the British elections32 on future British civil aviation policy, particularly regarding the prospects for concluding a satisfactory Anglo-American bilateral air transport agreement at an early date. The Labor Party has not only favored nationalization of transport, but has previously expressed a strong desire for international control of aviation. It is possible that during Assistant Secretary Clayton’s visit to London,33 he may have an opportunity to discuss this matter with British officials and that definite negotiations may be commenced within the near future.

Germany. Series 31 of the State, War and Navy Coordinating Committee, with which you are presumably familiar, has dealt with the problem of European air transport in the transitional period, with particular reference to Germany. The primary emphasis of these draft directives has been placed on military air transport, although SWNCC 31/2/D34 provides that civil airlines should resume and expand their services as soon as conditions permit. It is hoped that arrangements can be made within the very near future to permit those American airlines certificated by the Civil Aeronautics Board to inaugurate the regular commercial services into and through Germany on the routes indicated. It is also hoped that such permission will be granted on a liberal basis, that is, that no restrictions will be imposed on so-called Fifth Freedom traffic. Furthermore, although Berlin is the only port-of-call in Germany on the CAB route pattern, it should be possible for the American air service in this area to include other ports-of-call if deemed appropriate.

Greece. In April 1945 the Embassy at Athens presented a draft air transport agreement to the Greek Government.35 Shortly afterward the Greek authorities advised that they were prepared to grant the Third and Fourth Freedoms, but before giving a final decision on the Fifth Freedom, they desired to obtain the views of other European Governments whose territory would be crossed on the U. S. route serving Greece. The British Government had requested [Page 1477] the Greeks to delay their reply to the Department’s proposal, and reports indicate that the British are influencing the Greeks against granting Fifth Freedom privileges. Upon the announcement of the Civil Aeronautics Board’s route decision, the Embassy at Athens was instructed36 to inform the Greek Government of the route pattern. The Embassy was also informed of the aforementioned British note of June 21, 194537 regarding this Government’s efforts to obtain landing rights, and it was suggested that this might be helpful in expediting negotiations. No further information from Athens has been forthcoming.

Hungary. No specific approach has as yet been made by the Department to obtain landing rights in Hungary for U.S. commercial air services although Budapest is a port-of-call on the proposed American route through Central Europe.38

Italy. Aviation landing rights in Italy are somewhat complicated by the overall policy toward that country.39 Some months ago, the Embassy at Rome was asked to sound out the Italian authorities regarding landing rights,40 at which time the Italians raised the question of the reestablishment of Italian civil aviation and reciprocal landing rights.41 Upon the announcement of the Civil Aeronautics Board’s route decision, the Embassy at Rome was instructed42 to request temporary rights and to inform the Italian Government that the matter of more definite rights and the collateral question of reciprocity should be postponed until the negotiation of the peace treaty. The Italian Government’s reply was dated July 24, 194543 and stated that the Italian Government would be glad to accede to the request for these temporary rights (transit and non-traffic stop in Italian territory and commercial entry at Rome), until such time as it is possible to negotiate a “formal convention”. In the same note, the Italian Government expressed the hope that its own internal air services could connect with the proposed American services.

Netherlands. While Netherlands made a reservation on the Fifth Freedom in accepting the Five Freedoms Agreement, it is understood that this reservation will soon be withdrawn, thereby affording American air services unlimited privileges to pickup and [Page 1478] discharge traffic at Amsterdam. Although it is not essential, it is possible that this Government also will propose a bilateral air transport agreement with the Netherlands.

Norway. A preliminary draft bilateral agreement was discussed with the Norwegian Delegation at the Chicago Conference but it is doubtful if much progress was made while the Norwegian Government was located in London. After the Civil Aeronautics Board’s route decision was announced on July 5, a new draft bilateral agreement was forwarded to the Embassy at Oslo for discussions with the Norwegian Government.44

Poland. As soon as circumstances permit, the Embassy at Warsaw will be asked to present a bilateral air transport agreement to the Polish Government for consideration.

Portugal. The Portuguese have raised several objections to the draft bilateral agreement presented by the Embassy about March, 1945. One of the points in question is whether U.S. airlines can use Santa Maria Airport in the Azores which was constructed by United States funds, and another question concerns the Portuguese desire to prohibit over-flying Lisbon by American civil aircraft when there is no traffic to be discharged or embarked at that point. The Embassy is endeavoring to persuade the Portuguese to leave these two matters for further negotiation rather than hold up the conclusion of the agreement. The Portuguese also requested a provision in the agreement whereby a “reasonable division” of trans-Atlantic traffic would be made between American and Portuguese airlines in the event the latter operated to the United States. This has been rejected by this Government on the grounds that it would establish a very undesirable precedent. Apart from the foregoing, the major point of contention in the bilateral negotiations revolves around the question of Fifth Freedom traffic, and it is still undetermined whether the Portuguese will be disposed to conclude the agreement without insisting on arbitrary traffic restrictions. The Embassy is endeavoring to persuade the Portuguese Government to omit any such limitations on the grounds that any future traffic problems can be satisfactorily adjusted as they develop.45

Rumania. As in the case of Hungary, no attempts have yet been made to obtain commercial landing rights in this country.

U.S.S.R. As you may recall, the Soviet Government declined to send a delegation to the Chicago Conference although it had previously accepted the invitation to participate. During the summer of [Page 1479] 1944 exploratory conversations on civil aviation were held in Washington with Soviet representatives, at which time the latter gave no encouragement to this Government’s proposal that United States civil airlines would operate into the U.S.S.R. Despatch no. 1805–dated June 12, 1945 from the Embassy at Moscow expresses doubt that American air carriers will be permitted to enter the Soviet Union via Helsinki or any other proposed route. The Embassy adds that “the Soviet Government has made it sufficiently clear on a number of occasions that air transit of Soviet territory except in exceptional cases would be carried out only by Soviet aircraft”. It is probable that American Export Airlines will make efforts to persuade the Soviet Government to allow its services to enter over the routes proposed by the Civil Aeronautics Board, but such prospects do not appear to be promising in the foreseeable future.

Yugoslavia. In April 1945 a draft bilateral agreement was presented to the Yugoslav Foreign, Minister, who indicated a lack of experts in his government who were qualified to deal with the subject. When the Civil Aeronautics Board’s route decision was announced on July 5, the Embassy at Belgrade was asked to follow up the matter and report the progress of negotiations. No further information has been forthcoming from Belgrade.


While a number of difficulties (such as Fifth Freedom traffic privileges and the availability of transport aircraft) still must be worked out, the Department is hopeful that relatively satisfactory landing rights for United States commercial airlines can be obtained in the not too distant future from such countries as Great Britain, France, Belgium, Greece, Norway and Portugal. It is desirable that similar rights be obtained in countries such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Finland and Yugoslavia, although it is recognized that these countries may be influenced considerably by the Russian attitude. The Department also hopes that satisfactory commercial privileges can soon be made available with regard to Germany, and your comments on this possibility are requested. Presumably Austria would follow the same pattern although, as in the case of Germany, the Department is uncertain as to the availability of rights of transit and non-traffic stop in the zones under the control of other countries. Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria may be said to be in the “twilight zone” as concerns the acquisition of necessary landing rights in the near future, and any comments you may wish to make on this situation, as well as the entire subject reviewed above, would also be helpful.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
James C. Dunn
  1. Not printed.
  2. For text, see Civil Aeronautics Board Reports, vol. 6: Economic Decisions of the Civil Aeronautics Board, July, 1944–May, 1946. pp. 319–363.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not attached to file copy of instruction.
  5. For text of the agreement with Switzerland, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1576, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1935.
  6. Instruction 79, September 4, 1945, to the United States Political Adviser for Austria, not printed.
  7. Draft not printed.
  8. Despatch not printed.
  9. Instruction 33, July 24, 1945; not printed.
  10. In its note No. 32.538/IV–3/45, dated September 13, 1945, to the American Embassy, the Czechoslovak Ministry for Foreign Affairs accepted in principle the provisions of the general part of the draft air transport agreement, but expressed reservations as to the annex. Negotiations on the agreement continued throughout the remainder of 1945, and the agreement was signed at Praha on January 3, 1946. For text, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1560, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1917.
  11. Diplomatic relations between the United States and Finland were established as of midnight, August 31, 1945; for documentation, see vol. iv, pp. 624 ff.
  12. For text of Agreement signed at Paris March 27, 1946, and Provisional Arrangement effected by exchange of notes signed at Paris December 28 and 29, 1945, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1679, or 61 Stat. (pt. 4) 3445.
  13. Dated April 18, printed in vol. viii, section entitled “Assurances sought by the United States…”
  14. See telegram 4239, April 28, 1945, 1 p.m. from London, ibid.
  15. Note No. 312, ibid.
  16. A new Labor government took office July 26, 1945.
  17. Assistant Secretary of State Clayton was in London as a delegate to the Third Session of the Council of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and to talk with British officials about economic problems.
  18. Entitled “European Air Transport in the Transitional Period,” and elated March 16, 1945; not printed.
  19. Draft not printed.
  20. Telegram 639, July 5, 1945, 6 p.m., not printed.
  21. Not printed.
  22. The Representative in Hungary (Schoenfeld) was instructed in telegram 378, September 6, 8 p.m., to approach the Hungarian Government to obtain permission on a provisional or interim basis which would at least allow Pan American Airways to fly over Hungarian territory and to make refueling and emergency stops (811.79600/9–645).
  23. For documentation on this subject, see vol. iv, pp. 1323 ff.
  24. Telegram 354, February 20, 6 p.m., to Rome, ibid., p. 1323.
  25. See telegram 987, April 18, 1 a.m., from Rome, ibid., p. 1324.
  26. Telegram 1113, July 5, 7 p.m., to Rome, ibid., p. 1326.
  27. Despatch 1960, July 24, 1945, from Rome, not printed, but see telegram 2051 from Rome, July 21, noon, ibid., p. 1328.
  28. For text of Agreement between the United States and Norway signed at Washington on October 6, 1945, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 482, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1658.
  29. For text of Agreement signed between the United States and Portugal at Lisbon on December 6, 1945, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 500, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1846.