The Acting Secretary of State to the Chief of the Division of Northern European Affairs (Cumming)
Sir: In accordance with travel orders already issued to you, you are directed immediately to proceed to Stockholm to assist the American Minister, the Honorable Herschel Johnson, in the negotiation of an agreement with the Swedish Government for the establishment of Air Transport Command services to, through, and away from Sweden. You will journey to Stockholm by air, accompanied by representatives of the United States Army Air Forces who will be appointed by the War Department to act as technical advisers.
The nature of the proposals which the War Department desires to have made to the Swedish Government and which are approved by the Department are as follows:
[Here follow the specific proposals which, with certain modifications and additions, are contained in the note of March 12 from the [Page 748] American Minister in Sweden to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, printed on page 753.]
You will arrange with Mr. Johnson to keep the Department and the War Department fully informed regarding the progress of the negotiations. No final agreement should be signed without specific approval of the Department and the War Department.
The War Department considers that the pseudo-civilian air service, known as the AATS,57 which the Air Transport Command now operates between the United Kingdom and Sweden, to be unsatisfactory from an operational standpoint. The aircraft must have civilian markings and be registered with the Civil Aereonautics Administration. This destroys the flexibility of the fleet of aircraft operated by the Air Transport Command since only planes having civilian markings may be flown on the AATS route between the United Kingdom and Sweden. It also leads to a disruption of the flying schedules, for an Air Transport Command aircraft with regular United States Army Air Forces insignia cannot be substituted for an AATS plane when it requires repairs. The AATS aircraft do not have type and prototype certificates, thereby making it necessary for them to be based outside of the United States and preventing them from returning to this country for extensive repairs and overhauling. Although members of the United States Armed Forces, the crews operating the AATS aircraft wear civilian clothes. They therefore run the risk of being executed as spies by the Germans, should a plane be shot down over enemy-occupied territory. Finally, it is obviously advantageous to the Air Transport Command to operate its own meteorological stations rather than be dependent upon the British and Swedish authorities for weather data as must be done at the present time. The aforementioned handicaps to efficient flying operation would not exist if the Swedish Government would agree to the establishment of regular Air Transport Command services to, through, and away from Sweden.
Should the Swedish authorities inquire during the course of the negotiations as to reasons why the Air Transport Command proposes to charge for certain transportation services, thereby likening it to a commercial air transportation entity, you should inform them that this Government does not consider that the charging of rates for the services offered in any way makes the present AATS operation or the proposed Air Transport Command services commercial in character, and that it has no intention of engaging in the general business of air transportation for hire. The Secretary of War58 has officially informed the Secretary of State that the Executive Order authorizing [Page 749] the Air Transport Command to charge for the transportation of non-military passengers and freight is of an emergency and temporary nature. He has furthermore stated that the air transportation requirements of the Armed Forces greatly exceed the capacity of the Air Transport Command and that the Executive Order merely authorized it to use, for official and civilian travel on missions of importance to the over-all war effort, in relief and rehabilitation activities and in expediting a return to peace-time conditions, such small amounts of space as may from time to time be available and when such use does not interfere with the needs of the Armed Forces. You should furthermore impress upon the Swedish authorities that neither the AAT service nor the proposed Air Transport Command services should be considered as operating in competition with the ABA59 or any other commercial airline.
The aforegoing instruction has been approved by the War Department.
Very truly yours,