841.796/2–746: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the United States Delegation (Baker), at Hamilton, Bermuda

u.s. urgent

With reference to Deptels Feb 6 re Brit aide-mémoire, Lord Halifax addressed subsequent letter to Undersecretary Acheson saying he had further message from HMG, and there now appear to be some serious Brit objections to draft Heads of Agreement on bases in addition to the two points mentioned pgh 3 of aide-mémoire.51 Halifax letter informs that the withdrawal of these two provisions will in the circumstances hardly suffice, and Brit urge that bases question should be completely separated from main air transport agreement.

Difficult to say how soon JCS approval for revised Heads of Agreement can be obtained. However, if Brit willing, it would be satisfactory to initial the noncontroversial sections, including the revised Article 8(A) quoted your teletype message Feb 7,52 if this latter acceptable to military. Presumably there would be qualifying statement on Heads of Agreement such as “subject to approval of the respective govts”.

If there will be delay in getting Brit to initial, Dept believes best solution is to separate the two agreements entirely, but if possible to state in the Final Act that preliminary discussions on the opening of the 99-year bases to civil aircraft have resulted in substantial measure of agreement and that the two delegations have made recommendations to their govts which are intended to serve as the basis for the early negotiation of a formal agreement on this subject.

Further study of Brit change of gauge proposal53 gives Dept some concern with respect to the provision that permission must be obtained for transfer of passengers from one aircraft even to a smaller aircraft. Also, in the event our operators do not feel it necessary to insure right for transfer of onward passengers from one plane to another plane which might be based at a foreign point, there at least should be provision for transfer in the event of breakdown of the first plane, without necessity of getting prior permission. It is also not clear whether the change of gauge restrictions apply only to Brit points. However, Brit proposal appears susceptible to reasonably satisfactory revision, and as stated previously, we rely on your delegation to work out language which would be agreeable.

  1. See text transmitted in Department’s telegram of February 6, 8 p.m., p. 1469.
  2. Supra.
  3. See text in Department’s telegram of February 6, 8 p.m., under the heading of “Annex”, p. 1470.