HC Deb 01 November 1944 vol 404 cc781-2
18. Sir O. Simmonds

asked the Secretary of State for Air the principal decisions of the Imperial Air Conference at Montreal.

Sir A. Sinclair

As the reply to my hon. Friend's Question is necessarily somewhat long, I propose with his permission to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir O. Simmonds

Could my right hon. Friend tell the House whether the Governments of the Empire made one fundamental decision that they would consult with each other before making any bi-lateral agreements with foreign countries?

Sir A. Sinclair

I think my hon. Friend had better see the answer to learn exactly what was decided.

Following is the reply:

The conversations between Commonwealth officials at Montreal were held in order to facilitate an exchange of views concerning civil aviation. It was not intended that final decisions should be reached at the meeting since the matters to be discussed were to be subject to further consideration by the Governments concerned.

There was agreement as to the paramount importance of co-operating with the other nations of the world in framing an International Air Convention and setting up an International Air Authority to regulate civil aviation in the interests of peace, security and the orderly development of air transport. Consideration was given to schemes for establishing air services on routes connecting the various parts of the Commonwealth and Empire so as to provide a complete system of Imperial communications.

Provisional conclusions were reached on a number of technical questions of common interest, including war-time routes, commercial routes, methods of operation, ground facilities, air navigation, radio facilities, meteorology, airworthiness, equipment, standard practices and standardisation.

The delegates agreed to recommend the establishment of a standing Commonwealth Air Transport Council to facilitate consultation and the exchange of information between the Governments of the Commonwealth and Empire countries. The conversations were inspired throughout by a common desire that the nations of the British Commonwealth should make their maximum contribution to an efficient and economical international system of air services. The results of the meeting have amply fulfilled the hopes which the Government entertained when they accepted the invitation of the Canadian Government.