asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received from any foreign government a proposal that the post-war air transport services of the world shall be operated by an international corporation?
Is my right hon. Friend aware that while it may be necessary and desirable to have international control of air transportation it would be folly to attempt to have international operational control, and will he take care that he does not burn his fingers as some of his friends have done?
I think I should burn my fingers if I attempted to answer that question.
asked the Secretary of State for Air why his Department has discouraged British shipping companies from becoming practically interested in post-war air transport?
I cannot accept the implication of my hon. Friend's Question. As was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, on 3rd February, the proposal that shipping interests should participate in post-war civil air transport involves important issues of general policy which are under consideration by His Majesty's Government.
Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that no fewer than three shipping companies have had cold water thrown by his Department on their inquiries as to what action they could take regarding air transport? Is it not a fact that His Majesty's Government have committed themselves after the war both to an extension of trade and to the employment of our Air Force, and on both those grounds should not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman give full information to the shipping companies?
As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary stated just now, he would burn his fingers if he went into these issues. I should be doing the same, and even more so, if I did that. It is not for the Air Ministry to throw cold water on the shipping companies. All we have told them is that these issues are mixed up with large questions which His Majesty's Government have now under consideration.
Will the Minister see what he can do to follow up this matter and keep the shipping companies informed of the policy of His Majesty's Government?
asked the Minister without Portfolio why no decisions have been taken on the subject of post-war air transport, when his committees have been considering this matter for some 18 months?
Perhaps my hon. Friend would be good enough to await the forthcoming Debate on the Air Estimates, when this subject will no doubt be discussed. In the meantime, he should not assume that no decisions have been taken.
Did not my right hon. and learned Friend tell the House only a fortnight ago that no decisions had been taken? Are we to assume that very important decisions have been taken in the last 14 days?
I do not want to anticipate the forthcoming Debate, but I have given my hon. Friend the advice not to assume that no decisions have been taken.
Does that mean that in that Debate we shall have pronouncements by the Government on this subject? If I send my right hon. and learned Friend a report by the Labour Party on civil aviation, will he consider it?
Most certainly; I shall be glad to have it.