841.796/2–646: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the United States Delegation (Baker)

us urgent

A separate telegram comments on the Feb 6 British Aide-Mémoire just presented by Lord Halifax, which reads as follows:41

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have now considered the draft agreement relating to civil aviation which has been submitted by the British delegation at Bermuda. They share the [Page 1470] anxiety of the United States Government to conclude a satisfactory agreement without further delay and they are prepared to accept the agreement now proposed subject only to a clarification of paragraph 6 of the draft Final Act of the Conference to cover the question of “change of gauge”. The interpretation which His Majesty’s Government place on this matter is set out in the annex to this memorandum.

His Majesty’s Government understand however that the United States Delegation at Bermuda are pressing that the Heads of Agreement on the subject of the commercial use of airfields in leased bases should be directly linked with the main civil aviation agreement by the inclusion of specific clauses in the Final Act of the Conference.
The draft of the leased bases agreement includes two provisions in particular which His Majesty’s Government are unable to accept. They are: (a) an undertaking that His Majesty’s Government will use their good offices to persuade Newfoundland and Canada to agree to American requirements in Newfoundland and Labrador; (b) a stipulation that all civil aircraft including British civil aircraft using these bases should obtain all their petrol supplies, spare parts and Services from the United States military authorities.
As regards (a) His Majesty’s Government are naturally reluctant to accept in advance an obligation to press on Canada and Newfoundland commitments which they may well be unable for good reason to accept. As regards (b) there is evident difficulty from the point of view of the interests of the colonies concerned in granting a monopoly of this character.
His Majesty’s Government earnestly hope that the Department of State on considering these two conditions will instruct the United States delegation to withdraw their insistence upon them.
Alternatively, His Majesty’s Government suggests that the Department of State should authorise the separation of the Civil Aviation and Leased Bases agreements so that, subject to clarification of the question relating to “change of gauge” referred to in paragraph 1 of this memorandum, the civil aviation agreement may be put into final shape and concluded at Bermuda. The Leased Bases agreement would, in these circumstances, form the subject of future negotiations.


Change of Gauge

It is understood:

That no Fifth Freedom traffic shall be carried in an aircraft other than that which started from the country of origin except where for convenience or economy permission is given to transfer the passengers in such aircraft to a smaller aircraft, which permission will not be unreasonably withheld.
That where the volume of onward traffic is not such as to justify any continuation of a trunk service even with smaller aircraft without violating the principles laid down in paragraph 6 (of the Final Act) such onward traffic as exists should be carried by the local services in operation.
That where a change of gauge takes place the connecting aircraft [Page 1471] will not operate as separately scheduled services but will wait specifically on the arrival of incoming trunk aircraft and operate only in connection with such trunk aircraft.

  1. There is attached to the aide-mémoire a document headed “Draft Heads for Discussions between U.S.A. and U.K. in regard to Civil Air Transport Across the Atlantic” dated October 3, 1945, to which is appended another document entitled “Draft of an Agreement for Air Services between the United Kingdom and Other States” (841.796/2–646).