HC Deb 25 October 1944 vol 404 cc153-4
24. Sir O. Simmonds

asked the Secretary of State for Air for what reason he has included the head of an aircraft operating organisation among the British official delegates to the Empire Air Conference in Montreal.

Sir A. Sinclair

Lord Knollys, chairman of the British Overseas Airways Corporation, has been included in the U.K. Delegation to the Montreal Conference because is was felt that the advice of the Corporation would be of value on a wide variety of operational and technical points which may be expected to arise during the talks.

Sir O. Simmonds

Seeing that a representative of the State air line has been included, can my right hon. Friend tell the House why he did not include representatives of the private enterprise organisations, such as Railway Air Service, or British Latin-American Air Lines; or is this conference merely an attempt to perpetuate the chosen instrument?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir. This conference is on the official level between the Governments of the Empire. The B.O.A.C. is the only operating company which works between the different parts of the Empire.

Mr. Bowles

Why did the Under-Secretary of State refuse to disclose the names of the officials representing the British Government, while "The Times" had them on the following day?

Sir A. Sinclair

I do not know that my right hon. and gallant Friend did refuse. Perhaps he did not have the papers with him at the time. I cannot say why he did it. My right hon. and gallant Friend has just informed me that he considered it was unusual to disclose the names of civil servants.