183. National Security Council Statement1
U.S. CIVIL AVIATION POLICY TOWARD THE SINO-SOVIET BLOC
Need for Review of Policy
- The ultimate civil aviation objective of the United States toward the USSR and its Satellites has been the same as toward other countries: the safe and orderly development of air transport relations on the basis of reciprocal rights and the broadest possible freedom consistent with our national security and sound economic principles.
- In the period following World War II the high state of development achieved by international civil aviation in the Free World to a large extent by-passed the Soviet Bloc, because of Soviet cold war policies and the Free World’s reaction to such policies.2 The USSR then was refusing to open its territory to civil airlines of Free-World countries, while endeavoring, on the other hand, to penetrate Free-World territory through the medium of air carriers of Satellite states. During this period, accordingly, the United States sought a common Free-World policy designed to restrict Satellite airline operations in Free-World countries until the USSR opened its territory to airlines of the United States and other Free-World countries (NSC 15/3, January 5, 1950).
- NSC 15/3 assumed that there was no likelihood that the USSR would permit scheduled air services by carriers of Free-World countries into or over Soviet territory. Recent developments having indicated that this assumption is no longer valid, NSC 15/3 requires review.
Civil Aviation Developments in the USSR and Its Satellites
- The USSR is in the first stages of a determined and vigorous program to enter international air routes. Its capabilities for doing so are increasing rapidly and it has given numerous indications of intent and desire to expand the Soviet Bloc’s participation in international air traffic.
- Civil Aircraft. The USSR currently has a civil air fleet estimated at about 1,600 twin-engine, propeller-driven aircraft and 50 TU–104-type jet medium transports. The European Satellites have a civil air fleet of about 160 aircraft, predominantly DC–3 types. Czechoslovakia reportedly is acquiring three TU–104s in 1957.
- However, the USSR is embarking on an ambitious program to produce a modern, long-range civil air fleet. A new twin-engine transport, TU–104, is already in service in limited numbers. Four additional new transports have been developed, including both turbo-jet and turbo-prop prototypes (see Annex B, Table 2). Although it is too early to predict which of these new aircraft will be produced for civil use or in what quantity, it is fully expected that by the end of 1959 Soviet civil aviation will have a substantial number of turbo-jet and/or turbo-prop transports in operation.
- Technical Capabilities. In recent years the USSR has developed and is using aeronautical electronic equipment (including a Soviet-type Instrument Landing System (ILS)) which is of high quality and generally capable of meeting U.S. and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards. However, Soviet equipment with some possible exceptions, such as navigational radar, altimeters, etc., is not compatible or interchangeable with Western equipment. Also, indications are that the USSR has a shortage of airborne electronic equipment needed to provide an all-weather capability, .. . and control components of traffic handling. While it would not be feasible for U.S. or Soviet aircraft to carry adapters to make their respective electronic equipment compatible with each other’s systems, the USSR does have the capability of producing equipment which conforms to Western specifications.
- Poland and Czechoslovakia have already requested Western aeronautical equipment, and the USSR has encouraged their purchase of such equipment in limited quantities. In addition, Western Europe is showing increasing interest in Bloc markets and it will be increasingly difficult for the United States to maintain Western European adherence to multilateral agreements barring export of such equipment to the Bloc. The sale to the Bloc of Western aeronautical equipment necessary to enable Bloc countries to meet ICAO standards would contribute little to Soviet military strength. However, to the extent that Bloc civil airlines obtain aircraft and aviation equipment [Page 492]from the Free World, Soviet production could be diverted to meeting Soviet military requirements.3
- Despite the high technical capabilities of Soviet aircraft and aircraft equipment, the USSR will probably lag behind the major Western airlines for some years in efficiency of traffic development and handling, and standards of service.
- Intentions. In entering international air routes, the USSR is motivated more by political than by commercial considerations. Although a previous obstacle to Soviet entry on international air routes—lack of competitive aircraft—is rapidly disappearing, extreme sensitivity to security considerations will remain an important factor affecting Soviet willingness to accept ICAO principles governing international air operations. The USSR will be especially reluctant to grant reciprocal rights of overflight across Soviet territory.
- While maintaining publicly its approval of the principle of reciprocity, in its bilateral negotiations the USSR will be a hard bargainer and offer the minimum reciprocal rights to Free-World carriers. The Soviets will attempt whenever possible to obtain the preponderance of benefits in any exchange of reciprocal landing rights at specified points. For example, the USSR has offered Japan landing rights at Khabarovsk, Siberia, in exchange for a Soviet Moscow-Tokyo service. In addition, the USSR will make every effort to restrict the number of Free-World flights into the USSR and the areas in which such flights are permitted. If the USSR ultimately is forced to adhere to the principles of the international civil aviation community, it will still exercise close controls over Free-World flights in and through the Soviet Union. As a member of the community, the USSR would cause more trouble politically (i.e., efforts to modify ICAO regulations to suit Soviet political ends and type of operation) than operationally (i.e., Soviet violations of accepted operating procedures).
- In its efforts to enter international air routes, the USSR will make every effort to exploit the intense competition among European airlines to obtain greater concessions than it grants. It will also concentrate heavily on penetrating the underdeveloped areas where opportunities for political and subversive activities are great, and where there is little demand or capability for extensive reciprocal routes in the USSR.
- Satellites. Satellite air transport policy will probably remain closely coordinated with that of the USSR. However, the Satellites will probably be more liberal than the USSR in granting reciprocal transit rights to Free-World countries, mainly because the USSR [Page 493]does not place the same security importance on overflight of Satellite territory as on overflight of the USSR.
Factors Affecting U.S. Policy
- General. The United States has an important interest in the safe and orderly development of international air transportation for peaceful purposes. U.S. airlines are pre-eminent on the international air routes of the Free World, and the United States is a leader in the international civil aviation community of free nations. The USSR apparently has now realized the significance of civil aviation capabilities as an element of national power and prestige, and is developing a growing capability to challenge U.S. leadership in this field. Thus civil aviation is becoming another field involving global competition between the Free World and the Communist Bloc. This competition has security, political and economic implications for the United States and the Free World.
- Advantages of U.S. Air Service to the Bloc. A
number of advantages would accrue to the United States if U.S. airlines
were able to operate to and across the USSR and its European Satellites.
- The United States would gain propaganda advantages from the presence of its aircraft in Bloc countries and from the superiority of its airline techniques and services over those of the Bloc countries.
- If overflight rights could be obtained, U.S. airlines would benefit from the considerably shorter routes on east-west flights (e.g., Tokyo-London).
- Reciprocal air exchanges would facilitate the expansion of East-West contacts and represent a significant breach in the Iron Curtain.
- Advantages to the USSR. An expansion of
East-West air relations would enable the USSR to:
- Add to its aura of “respectability” and facilitate the overall Soviet aim of blurring the lines between the Bloc and the Free World.
- Help demonstrate Soviet technological prowess to Free-World countries, particularly in underdeveloped areas.
- Provide increased opportunities for electronic monitoring of Western military facilities.
- Facilitate the travel under Soviet control of Soviet officials, delegations, and tourists to Free-World areas.
- Reciprocity. Probable Soviet reluctance to grant full reciprocity (transit rights, etc.) and unwillingness to adhere to Western aviation standards (frequency of service, rates, etc.) will confront the United States with difficult decisions. Agreement to Soviet terms which do not involve strict reciprocity, or which depart from normal economic [Page 494]principles, might undermine the basis upon which international air transportation has developed in the Free World. On the other hand, the United States could become isolated and lose its position of leadership in the international aviation community to one or more Free-World countries if it refuses to enter into relations with the Bloc and if, as is likely, there is an expansion of air relations between the Bloc and other Free-World nations.
- Operational Problems. The incompatibility of Bloc ground and airborne facilities will pose problems requiring resolution before air service between the United States and the USSR can begin. Czechoslovakia is already requesting Western equipment to conform with ICAO specifications, and the USSR may do likewise if the United States insists on Soviet acceptance of ICAO terms as part of a bilateral agreement. The granting of such equipment to the USSR would require exceptions to existing unilateral and multilateral export controls. On the other hand, failure to make the equipment available to the Soviet Bloc might require the United States to accept an agreement which would involve reduced operations or would involve U.S. installation of equipment compatible with Soviet facilities or Soviet-Bloc installation of equipment compatible with Free-World facilities.
- Subsidy. Without knowledge of the specific conditions under which a U.S. airline would operate into the USSR or its Satellites, it cannot be predicted with certainty whether or not such service would be economic. Pan American Airways is the carrier presently certificated to serve the USSR and its Satellites. Even if Pan American operated this particular service at a loss, such loss would not of itself—under the U.S. Supreme Court decision of February 1, 1954, establishing as a criterion for subsidy payments the result of an airline’s system operations as a whole—establish a “need” basis for subsidy under the Civil Aeronautics Act. Pan American has been operating without subsidy since October 1, 1956, although it is claiming a substantial amount of subsidy retroactive to that date, as well as for future periods.
- Internal Security. The operation of Communist-Bloc airlines within the United States has obvious security implications …. In the circumstances, consideration should be given to the consistency, from the internal security standpoint, of allowing Communist-Bloc aircraft to enter the United States while denying entry of Communist-Bloc ships to U.S. ports.
- Common Policy.
- The United States cannot achieve its civil aviation objectives toward the Sino-Soviet Bloc by unilateral action. It must secure the cooperation and take into account the attitudes of other Free-World [Page 495]governments, particularly those with major international civil aviation interests.
- Accordingly, it is in the U.S. interest to persuade selected Free-World nations to pursue a common policy in their civil air relations with the USSR. The objectives of such common policy would be, ultimately, to insure that the USSR accept the fundamental principles of Free-World civil aviation operations, and, in the interim, to insure that, if USSR airlines extend their operations into the Free-World area, Free-World airlines should enjoy reciprocal rights in extending their operations into the USSR. Such a common policy would (1) increase the prospects of influencing the USSR to adhere to agreed international air principles and standards; (2) decrease Soviet opportunities for undermining those principles and standards; (3) lessen the advantages to the USSR of entering international air routes on its own terms; and (4) minimize Soviet opportunities to exploit its operations over Free-World air routes for military or subversive purposes. Although there are some political disadvantages for the United States in attempting to persuade some of our allies to adopt a common policy, these disadvantages are far out-weighed by the advantages, particularly if the United States makes it clear that its espousal of a common policy is not an attempt to gain a competitive advantage over other Free-World airlines.
- It also is in the U.S. interest to persuade selected Free-World nations to pursue a common policy toward the European Satellite states. The ultimate civil aviation objective toward these states should be the same as that toward the USSR. Because Western European governments may be unwilling to insist upon fully reciprocal air services with the European Satellites, the common policy should at least include provisions under which participating Free-World states, in normalizing their air transport relations with European Satellites other than the Soviet Zone of Germany, (1) seek to persuade the Satellites to accept Free-World principles and develop aviation policies independently of the USSR and (2) frustrate any efforts by the Satellites to obtain unfair advantages by non-adherence to such principles.
- A common aviation policy toward the Communist Asian states is probably impracticable at this time. Accordingly, any U.S. representations to Free-World states aimed at blocking the establishment of air services to or from Communist China, North Korea, or North Viet Nam, or opposing the export of aircraft or aeronautical equipment to such countries, should be made through bilateral approaches on a case-by-case basis, as appropriate.
- The attitude of Free-World governments toward a common policy will vary with each government’s concept of its own commercial, political and military interests. The United Kingdom has indicated initial opposition to a common policy, primarily for commercial competitive aviation reasons, while the French are believed to be generally more receptive. Approaches to other smaller, friendly Free-World states to determine their attitude toward a common-policy concept have been deferred. Smaller, friendly states in critical areas or those which might bear the brunt of Soviet pressure for unilateral traffic rights, would probably welcome a common policy toward the USSR, while a number of neutral states would probably not cooperate.
- Special Area Problems. In addition to the
problems involved in the establishment of air relations between the
United States and the Bloc, the United States has an important interest
in the development of Bloc civil air relations with the rest of the Free
World. These interests differ widely from area to area depending upon
special political, economic and strategic considerations.
- Western Europe. The major airlines of
the world outside the United States are in Western Europe and
consequently our interest in the expansion of Bloc-Western
European air relations stems primarily from its effect on the
maintenance of high standards and principles in international
aviation. The opportunities for Soviet propaganda and subversive
gains in Western Europe are less than in the underdeveloped
areas. However, two special problems exist:
- West Germany. Although the United States, France, and the United Kingdom have relinquished much of their power to control overflights of West Germany by foreign aircraft, they still regulate, in agreement with the Federal Republic, all traffic over the Federal territory enroute to or from the Berlin air corridors, and control, in consultation with the Federal Republic, all flights of Soviet aircraft over Western Germany. The German Government controls flights through Federal Republic air space by Satellite aircraft other than those enroute to or from a Berlin air corridor, but has agreed to consult with the Three Powers before permitting such flights. Any expansion of Bloc air traffic involving West German air space would have to take into account the special problem created by the Berlin air corridors and would have to be of such a nature as to avoid undermining the position of the Three Powers in Berlin.
- East Germany. In any expansion of aviation routes to the Soviet Bloc or Berlin, the problem of the Berlin air corridors described above must be taken into account, and the U.S. policy of non-recognition of the German Democratic Republic must not be jeopardized.
- Underdeveloped Areas. The opportunities for the furtherance of Bloc political and subversive activities through air service to the underdeveloped nations of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are far greater than in Western Europe. Recognizing the impracticality of completely excluding Bloc operations to these areas, it is nevertheless in the U.S. interest that, to the maximum extent possible, Bloc arrangements with these countries be kept to a minimum, are on a reciprocal basis, conform to international standards and principles, and do not prejudice the rights of Free-World nations to operate in the area.
- Latin America. The extension of Bloc air services to Latin America would provide an opportunity for an expansion of contacts and commerce between the two areas which would be contrary to U.S. national interests.
- Far Eastern Communist Nations. The United States cannot conclude civil air agreements with Communist China, North Korea, and North Viet Nam without undermining our policy of non-recognition [Page 497]and isolation of these regimes. Similarly, it is in the U.S. interest to oppose the establishment of scheduled air service between these countries and free Asian nations. Any relaxation of the ban on export of U.S. aircraft or aeronautical equipment to these countries would also be contrary to U.S. interests.
- Maintenance of U.S. leadership in international civil aviation.
- The safe and orderly development of international air transportation on the basis of reciprocal rights and the broadest freedom consistent with national security and sound economic principles.
- A common policy among Free World countries that the entry of the USSR and the European Satellites into international civil aviation operations shall be consistent with Free World security and with fundamental principles agreed to within the Free World for such operations.
- Prevention of further international air traffic between the Free World and Communist China, North Korea and North Viet-Nam.
- Restriction to a minimum of USSR and European Satellite participation in international civil aviation operations, and of Communist influence and control over indigenous airlines in critical areas of the Near East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Major Policy Guidance
- The United States should insist that its civil aviation relations with
the USSR and the European Satellites be:
- Based upon appropriate internal security safeguards.
- Not more favorable to the USSR and the European Satellites than U.S. civil aviation relations with Free World states.
- Conducted in accordance with the U.S. policy of non-recognition of the so-called German Democratic Republic and with U.S. policy toward an individual European Satellite.
- Based upon not according to the USSR or the European Satellites rights or privileges greater than those accorded to the United States by the USSR or the European Satellites.
- Based, in so far as possible, upon acceptance by the USSR and
the European Satellites of:
- The principles and provisions of the Chicago Convention of 1944 (Annex C, page 19).
- The provisions of the International Air Services Transit Agreement (Annex C, page 20).
- The fares and practices of the International Air Transport Association (Annex C, page 21).
- Bilateral air transport agreements generally acceptable in the Free World (Annex C, page 21).
- The United States should seek to persuade appropriate Free World
states to join in a common policy of insistence that, in so far as
possible, civil aviation relations with the USSR or European Satellites
should be similar to the U.S. policy stated in paragraph 28 above,
subject to the following:
- A Free World state may accord to the USSR transit or traffic rights to a point in a third state, without insisting upon a reciprocal right being accorded to it by the USSR, where the geographical location or airline operation of such Free World state does not justify such insistence.
- If a Western European Free World state is not willing to insist upon fully reciprocal civil aviation arrangements with European Satellites, such state should, as a minimum, attempt to persuade such Satellites to accept the conditions of paragraph 28–e above, and to develop their aviation policies independently of the USSR.
- Civil aviation agreements between a Free World state and the USSR or a European Satellite should not prohibit the Free World airline from using flight crews or equipment of other Free World states.
- The United States should seek to obtain the agreement of Free World
- To frustrate any efforts by a Soviet or European Satellite airline to obtain unfair advantages on international routes by non-adherence to the conditions of paragraph 28–e above.
- Not to enter into civil aviation arrangements with the USSR or a European Satellite unless intending within a reasonable period to exercise the rights accorded thereunder.
- To prevent Soviet or European Satellite airlines from exploiting civil aviation relations with Free World countries for penetration or clandestine purposes.
- To eliminate or restrict to a minimum Soviet or European Satellite airline operations in critical areas of the Near East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- 4 31.
- The United States should develop and encourage its allies to develop programs designed to promote the Free World aviation position in the underdeveloped areas and to neutralize future Sino-Soviet aviation encroachments in such areas. As part of this effort, the United States should encourage the development in the United [Page 499]States and abroad of competitive types of aircraft and aviation equipment suitable for use in underdeveloped areas.
- The United States should seek a special understanding with the United Kingdom, France and Germany regarding overflights of the Federal Republic of Germany by USSR and Satellite airlines on East-West air services.
a. Consistent with U.S. unilateral restrictions on relations with the Communist Asian states, the United States should not authorize U.S. airlines to establish services to Communist China, North Korea or North Viet-Nam, or permit airlines of these three countries to establish services to U.S. territory.
b. The United States should oppose, as appropriate, establishment of air services between other Free World countries and the three Asian Communist states.
- Within the framework of U.S. unilateral export controls, and multilateral export controls to which the United States is a party, applicable to Communist China, North Korea, and North Viet-Nam, the United States should (a) not sell or export to these states civil aircraft or associated aviation equipment; and (b) seek to prevent other Free World nations from selling or exporting to these states civil aircraft or associated aviation equipment or from providing to these states facilities for overhaul, refitting or major maintenance.
- Under U.S. unilateral export controls, and multilateral export controls to which the United States is a party, the United States should consider on a case-by-case basis the sale in reasonable amount of aviation safety equipment to the USSR and of civil aircraft and aeronautical equipment (including aviation safety equipment) to selected European Satellites which may be required to carry out the objectives of this policy.
Source: Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5726 Series. Secret. A cover sheet and table of contents are not printed. The National Security Council adopted NSC 5726/1 on December 9 and President Eisenhower approved it the same day, designating the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency for the policy. (Note of December 9 from Lay to the members of the NSC; ibid.)
On April 2, 1958, the NSC adopted a proposed new paragraph 31, prepared by the NSC Planning Board. (Memorandum of April 7, 1958, from Gleason to members of the NSC; ibid.) The source text includes the new paragraph 31, and all remaining paragraphs are renumbered.↩
- See Annexes A and C. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- CIA points out that the production so to be diverted would be minimal in comparison to the Soviet electronics industry output. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- Because it is not now contemplated that the application of this paragraph will increase expenditures substantially, a Financial Appendix has not been prepared. [Footnote in the source text.]↩