41. Telegram From the Embassy in Czechoslovakia to the Department of State1

466. Embassy tel 1434, London’s 1240.3 Pan Am representative Wenzel says that at technical level Czechs have concluded they don’t want to go through with purchase of Soviet IL 62 craft scheduled for 1967 delivery. Uncertainty that such aircraft would obtain air worthiness certificates big factor in decision. This introduces possibility Czechs will now seriously enter market for Western aircraft.

Air Attaché sees some profit to Czechs in using same type aircraft that Pan Am uses in flying here thereby reducing maintenance problem in Prague and eventually in US if CSA receives permission for flights. They have already made some overtures to Wenzel about joint training program in engine maintenance of Western craft. However, credit might loom as factor influencing Czechs to British or French planes. This is thinking CSA technical level and top level Ministry not yet sold.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, AV 12–2 CZECH. Confidential. Repeated to London.
  2. Beginning in spring of 1965, the dates and transmission times of all incoming Department of State telegrams were in six-figure date-time-groups. The “Z” refers to Greenwich mean time.
  3. Telegram 1434 from Prague, May 13, reported that the prospects for Western sales to an expanding CSA “appear remote for financial, operational and political reasons.” (Department of State, Central Files, AV 12–2 CZECH) Telegram 1240 from London, September 21, reported on British efforts to sell VC–10 aircraft in Eastern Europe. (Ibid., AV 12–2 EUR-E)