Editorial Note

On February 10 the Department of State was informed by the United States Delegation that on the previous day the two Delegations had reached an agreed text for the proposed bases agreement, a master copy of which was being despatched to Washington by courier that morning (February 10). The Department was informed that a new Article 12 (c) had been added as follows:

“The initialling of this document shall not indicate that a contract has been concluded. This document is the agreed bases of, and subject to the preparation of, a formal contract. In the preparation of the formal contract any outstanding points, more particularly the points arising on articles 8 and 11, will be resolved.”

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Washington was informed in the same telegram that “The new Articler 12 (c) is the agreed US–UK delegation compromise on British Ministry [sic] wording received last night. US delegation believes London Cabinet will accept this at meeting tomorrow morning, February 11. We expect no further changes in bases agreement. …” (Hamilton unnumbered telegram, February 10, 1946, received February 11, 8:44 a.m. (841.796/2–1246)) The Delegation informed the Department in an undated and unnumbered telegram received in the Department on February 11, 4:18 p.m., that Section 12 (c) “now accepted by British and should be included in Annex and heads of agreement”. (841.796/2–1146)

In the same telegram the Department was informed that Part V of the Annex to the bilateral agreement had also received British approval (see undated and unnumbered Hamilton cable, supra).

Certain technical changes in the drafting of these documents were also conveyed to the Department in telegrams received on February 10 and February 11 (841.796).

Three instruments were signed or initialled at a final plenary session of the Conference on February 11: The Final Act of the Conference, an Air Transport Agreement with attached Annex, and Heads of Agreement relating to the civil use of leased air bases with exchange of letters between the Chairmen of the two Delegations embodying certain reservations of their respective governments on the Heads. For texts, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1507 or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1499; these are printed also in Department of State Bulletin, April 7, 1946, pages 584 ff.

For the Joint Statement issued by the two Delegations at Hamilton, Bermuda on February 11, 1946, see Department of State Bulletin, February 24, 1946, pages 302 ff.

Pending the conclusion of the “formal contract” referred to in Article 12(c) of the Heads of Agreement a temporary arrangement was worked out between the two Governments in the months that followed in a succession of diplomatic exchanges between the Department and the British Embassy, for the use of the leased-bases airfields in Bermuda and the Caribbean by civil aircraft. This was done without prejudice to negotiations for permanent arrangements. Documentation regarding this matter is found in the Department of State’s central indexed files, File No. 811.34544.

Agreement was reached between the two Governments in May 1946 for the holding of talks at Washington in June looking towards negotiating the formal contract cited in Article 12(c). These discussions, held June 18–July 18, resulted in an agreement on a draft [Page 1481] text of fourteen articles dealing with such subjects as traffic rights, use of the bases for private and charter flights, limitation of civil use, administrative and operational control and requirements, landing fees, and suspension of United States responsibilities. Final approval and signature awaited further review by interested agencies of the two Governments and by the British Colonial Governments concerned, and the matter was still pending at the end of the year. Documentation is found in File No. 811.34544.

Final settlement was contingent also upon a United States requirement that a satisfactory agreement be reached by the United States with the Newfoundland Commission of Government and the Canadian Government regarding the use of certain bases in Newfoundland by civil aircraft. Conversations were held at Washington June 14–June 26 between representatives of the three governments, and substantial agreement was reached on a draft text. Certain questions however were still unsettled at the year’s end. Relevant documentation may be found principally in File No. 843.7962.]