HC Deb 04 October 1944 vol 403 cc911-2
Sir W. Brass

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Air whether any arrangements have been made for further Inter-Commonwealth discussions about civil air transport, following the talks which were held in October of last year.

Sir A. Sinclair

Yes, Sir. At the invitation of the Canadian Government, officials of British Commonwealth Governments will meet for a Conference in Montreal beginning on the 23rd instant to discuss operational and technical problems connected with the establishment of air routes between members of the British Commonwealth. Air transport services operated for war purposes will be reviewed and it is expected that there will be discussion of possible operations during the remainder of the war as well as in the post-war period. Any recommendations made by the conference will be submitted to the Governments for approval. It has for some time been the intention of the Commonwealth Governments to hold further conversations on aviation problems. Now that a general international conference on the subject is to be held in the United States in November it has been agreed that the further Com- monwealth talks could most conveniently take place in Canada at a meeting attended by the officials of the delegations visiting North America for the Conference in the United States. The South African Government has agreed to postpone the conference which was to have been held in Johannesburg this month to discuss civil aviation problems affecting Southern Africa.

Mr. A. Bevan

Can we have the date of this Conference in Canada?

Sir A. Sinclair

23rd October.

Mr. Bevan

May I ask, Mr. Speaker, why it was necessary to have this Private Notice Question?

Mr. Speaker

The answer is obviously that a simultaneous announcement is being made in the Canadian House of Commons, and I think this House of Commons would have objected if the Canadian House had heard it and we had not.

Mr. Bowles

What policy, so far as civil aviation is concerned, will His Majesty's Government stand for in the Canadian parleys on 23rd October and what policy will they press for in the international talks in November?

Sir A. Sinclair

As regards the outline of the policy, I answered a question on that, which the hon. Member put to me earlier in the Sitting. The Commonwealth Conference is to be a discussion of practical operational and technical problems, for the organisation of routes between the Empire countries represented at the Conference.

Sir Oliver Simmonds

Which Ministers will represent the United Kingdom Government; and will they represent a general policy acceptable to the House?

Sir A. Sinclair

; This is a Conference of officials, and not of Ministers.

Viscount Hinchinǵbrooke

Is it not very desirable that the Conference in Canada should take place before the Conference in the United States?

Sir A. Sinclair

It will. The Conference in Canada, as I have said, is to take place on the 23rd of this month.