121. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State 1

1840. Advance indications are that Plowden Report,2 which now in revised draft stage, expected to be published latter part November, will make strong recommendation for increased cooperation with France and rest of Europe and aerospace field. Report will contend that cooperation with US difficult if not impossible and attempt to do so would result in demise substantial part of UK aerospace industry.

Report has important politico/military implications for US which will be commented on fully when report published. Of significance at moment, however, are indications we have received that Plowden Report appears be based to great extent on untested assumptions, loose general analysis and inadequate statistical base. Report will lack rigorous analysis and economic-military back up data which should be essential in major report of this kind.

Final review of draft report by Plowden Committee now going on. Embassy understands there may be minority of Plowden Committee which does not support conclusions of majority and which may, therefore, release minority report which may call for cooperation with US as well as continent. Embassy believes that in this final review serious weakness in Plowden Report due to lack of sound analytical base may be called to attention of the committee by the minority. Believe minority hand in review would be strengthened by having example of sort of analysis in depth typified by recent DOD economic study of SST if it could be made available.3 While Embassy suggests that ultimate release of SST report would be useful to British and French in terms Concorde project, its use in context of Plowden Report would be primarily to dramatize what seem to be major deficiencies in Plowden Report.

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Since Plowden Committee review expected to be completed next week imperative that immediate decision on this proposal be forthcoming.4 Please advise.

Bruce
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, AV 12–7 US. Confidential. Repeated to Paris for USRO and the Embassy and to the Department of Defense for McNaughton and Enthoven.
  2. Not found.
  3. Not found.
  4. On November 11 Willis Armstrong, Minister for Economic Affairs at the Embassy in London, reported that he had called on Minister of Aviation Roy Jenkins and had given him two copies of the Defense Department paper entitled “The Limited Market for Concorde.” “I also observed that in giving it to him we were not attempting to ‘shoot down the Concorde.’ I told him simply that the Embassy had been acquainted with a study of SST problems being made by the Defense Department, and that we had asked for permission to give to the British Government whatever our authorities in Washington thought suitable, and this was the result.” Armstrong told Jenkins that the paper had “some extremely interesting methodology” and thought that perhaps he might want to pass a copy to the Plowden Committee. (Airgram A–1120 from London, November 11; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, AV 12–7)