Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State

Lord Halifax2 called at his request. He referred to prior talks which both Mr. Clayton3 and I had had with him stressing the great importance of making progress on the matter of civil aviation prior to the consideration in Congress of the British loan.4 He told me that he was authorized by his Government to say that His Majesty’s Government would be very glad indeed to discuss at an early date, which the Ambassador placed about the middle of January, the matter of a bilateral civil aviation agreement between Great Britain and the United States.5 He said that at one of our earlier discussions I had mentioned Bermuda as a possible place and the British Government wished to propose Bermuda as the site of the discussions. The Ambassador stated that the British delegation would be headed by Sir W. Hildred. On further examination of his papers he said that he would have to withdraw this statement as it has not yet finally been decided. The British Government stressed the desirability of having these discussions at a non-ministerial level and conducting them as quietly as possible. I told the Ambassador that I was very glad indeed to get the information which he had just given me; that I would report the matter and let him hear further from us in the immediate future.

Dean Acheson
  1. The Earl of Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States.
  2. William L. Clayton, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.
  3. For documentation on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vi, pp. 1 ff.
  4. From July 1945 there had been communication between the two governments on this matter at the official, ministerial and heads of government levels both at Washington and London, with indifferent results; relevant documentation is found in the central indexed files of the Department of State, principally File No. 841.796. Failure of the two governments in an auxiliary effort in the fall of 1945 to effect an interim aviation agreement is documented in Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, pp. 1455 ff.