118. Letter From Acting Secretary of State Ball to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency (Halaby)1

Dear Mr. Halaby:

I refer to the meeting on January 27, 1965, of the Interagency Committee on International Civil Aviation Policy (ICIAP)2 regarding the invitation extended by the British Minister of Aviation Roy Jenkins that you meet with him and French Minister of Public Works and Transportation Jacquet to discuss supersonic transport aircraft, including the possibility of a tripartite US-UK-French agreement to delay production of both the Concorde and any American supersonic transport.

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As a result of the above meeting and subsequent discussions by the Department of State with the Department of Defense and your Agency, I authorize you to accept the invitation. I further authorize you to inform the UK and French Ministers that:

The United States Government has made no decision as to the next step in its supersonic transport program.
As in the past, you would be willing to meet periodically with the British and the French to discuss the status of our supersonic transport program and the technical problems of sonic boom, airport capability, air traffic control and the like.
The United States will not tie itself to any time schedule for introducing an American supersonic transport and will not agree to any limitation on its design of the supersonic transport.
You are willing to discuss the major technical and economic prospects and difficulties of the United States supersonic transport program and the United Kingdom-French supersonic transport program, emphasizing that at this early stage in the program there is great uncertainty as to many of the major operating and economic characteristics that are achievable.
In the event that the United Kingdom and/or France seek United States Government permission to approach American manufacturers for help on the Concorde, they should understand that such matters should be handled directly between the companies involved. Further they should understand that this in no way indicates that they have United States Government approval to obtain any information or assistance from those companies and the usual procedures would apply in this case.
If the United Kingdom and French Aviation Ministers make any significant proposals on which the United States position has not been determined, you should indicate that you have no authority to agree but would be happy to report them back to your Government.

In the discussions every effort should be made to avoid giving the French representatives any basis for charging that the UK has in any way ceded to US pressure at the expense of European technical and production interests.

Sincerely yours,

George W. Ball 3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, AV 12–7. Secret. Drafted by Amstutz (OA/AL) on February 4, and cleared by P. Bogart (AL), Maloy (FAA), Johnson (E), Ferguson (OA), Beigel (WE), Tucker (BNA), and Creel (EUR).
  2. No record of this meeting was found.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Ball signed the original.