HC Deb 10 June 1942 vol 380 cc1029-31
11. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can make a statement on the United Nations Air Training Conference?

Sir A. Sinclair

As the House will be aware, the Air Training Conference in Ottawa has now concluded its deliberations. My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Dominions Affairs broadcast on Friday evening, 5th June, a statement on the work of the Conference, and the Prime Minister of Canada, on the same day, made a statement in considerable detail in the Canadian Parliament. I have, however, outlined the main features of the new Agreement in a statement which, with permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The House will wish to join me in expressing our deep appreciation of all that the Government of Canada have done, are doing, and will do, to provide training and training facilities on a vast and increasing scale. It is an immense service to the common cause.

Following is the statement:

  1. 1. The Conference was held in two stages.
  2. 2. The first was attended by representatives of all the United Nations interested in air training in North America. They agreed to set up a standing committee in Washington to exchange information and make recommendations for the co-ordination of training facilities in North America, so as to ensure their most effective use.
  3. 3. In the second stage, the four partners in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan—the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—negotiated a renewal of the Agreement of December, 1939, for the training of air crews in Canada.
  4. 4. The very success of the Plan, the desirability of adapting it to new developments, and the need for long-term planning led the participating Governments to negotiate for its renewal in good time.
  5. 5. The scope of the original Plan had greatly increased. Moreover, since the summer of 1940 a number of R.A.F. training schools had been transferred to Canada, and others had been established there. These R.A.F. schools have been administered by the Canadian authorities.
  6. 6. The new Agreement, which becomes operative on July 1st, 1942, and extends to March 31st, 1945, covers the expanded training organisation set up under the Plan, and provides for its further expansion.
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  8. 7. The Agreement also covers the R.A.F. training schools now in Canada, which will retain their identity, and for purposes of administration continue to be integrated with those of the Plan.
  9. 8. The facilities provided under the Plan will continue to be used for the training of personnel from all four countries participating in the Agreement. Canada will continue to supply a substantial proportion of the pupils, while the number sent under the United Kingdom quota, including men drawn from other parts of the Empire and from European members of the United Nations, will be augmented.
  10. 9. The Agreement also deals with certain matters connected with the organisation and administration of the Royal Canadian Air Force overseas.
  11. 10. The costs under the new Agreement are estimated at nearly 1½ billion dollars. This will cover all air training within Canada administered by the Dominion of Canada under the Plan as expanded, including operational training units and R.A.F. units in Canada. The Governments of Australia and New Zealand will each bear the costs of training their respective pupils received into the Plan.
  12. 11. The United Kingdom will assume 50 per cent. of the estimated costs, less payments made by Australia and New Zealand. Canada will assume the remaining 50 per cent. The United Kingdom's share of the costs will, as far as practicable, be met by the provision in kind of aircraft, engines, spare parts, technical equipment, bombs, ammunition, and other supplies as required.
  13. 12. The arangements for the continuation of the training schemes in Australia and New Zealand, which were part of the organisation planned in December, 1939, will be the subject of separate negotiations between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, to be undertaken at an early date.