711.4027/10–1148: Telegram

The Counselor of the Department of State (Bohlen) to the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Kennan)1

secret   urgent

5302. While I have not gone into full detail of questions raised in British reply concerning civil aviation policy (your 3864 September 292 and London’s 4340 to Dept3), I feel that it might be well to have [Page 471] a thorough re-examination of NSC policy paper of last July on this subject.

As I see it, the problem divides itself in two parts, (1) transport and the reciprocal operation of commercial flights with the satellite countries, and (2) the question of sale and export to USSR and its satellites of aircraft or aircraft equipment and facilities for overhaul. As to (2), the British are apparently in agreement with us and we should therefore press forward and try to implement the NSC policy oil this point with the other Marshall Plan countries.

As the British aide-mémoire reveals, our chief difficulty in carrying out the NSC policy on transport will be to obtain consent of the European countries to cancel or abolish existing and reciprocal civil air arrangements with the satellite countries. I am by no means sure that politically it would be wise for us at this time to exert pressure on them to get them to cancel these arrangements on the ground indicated, namely, that the USSR itself does not accord any reciprocal facilities of any kind. Any such attempt on our part would probably be very much resented and certainly exploited by Communist propaganda as proof that by the Marshall Plan we were in effect attempting to dictate the external relations of the recipient countries.

As to security, I gather that the French feel with the British that this does not present an unmanageable problem since adequate control could be exercised at the designated port of entry and departure.

I hope to have soon a meeting with Deak who will probably come up from Bern in order to go into the matter more fully but I wish you would have a new look at the policy in regard to transport only and let me have your views.

  1. This telegram was transmitted through the facilities of the Embassy in Paris. Bohlen was serving as an Adviser on the United States Delegation to the Third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations which opened in Paris on September 21, 1948.
  2. Not printed.
  3. October 1, p. 467.