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Dominion And International Conferences (Reports)

Volume 414: debated on Wednesday 17 October 1945

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether he will publish a report of the conferences, with the agreements and conclusions reached, on Inter national Civil Aviation, which took place in Canada in the latter part of 1944 between representatives of His Majesty's Government and the Dominion Governments; and whether he intends to publish a report of the proceedings of the Inter national Conference on Civil Aviation held at Chicago in 1944, including all the protocols, drafts and other documents agreed upon at that Conference.

In answer to the first part of the Question, I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by the then Secretary of State for Air on 1st November last year about the conversations held in Montreal before the Chicago Conference and to the statement made by the then Minister of Civil Aviation on 16th January last summarising the results of the second series of conversations held in Montreal after the Conference.

In answer to the second part of the Question I refer my hon. Friend to the account given in another place on 16th January last, by the then Minister of Civil Aviation, who led the United Kingdom Delegation at Chicago. Copies of the Final Act of the Chicago Conference, which includes the resolutions and agreements of the Conference, together with copies of the minutes of all the plenary sessions and of the meetings of the main Committees are available in the library. The Final Act, Part I, but not Part II, which contains the technical annexes, has been published by His Majesty's Stationery Office. In addition, I am arranging for a copy of the report of the Conference, prepared by the United Nations Information Organisation in co-operation with the United States Office of War Information, to be placed in the library. This report contains, inter alia, a day-to-day summary of the proceedings of the Conference and summaries of all important documents placed before it for consideration.

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is approved by the final act of the Agreement reached at Chicago that all these documents should be published by the United States Government? A number of them have been published. Will my hon. Friend take steps to represent to the United States Government that these should be made available in this country, and that they should get on with the job of publishing the remainder?

I cannot answer for the United States Government, but to the best of my knowledge they have fulfilled all the obligations which they have undertaken in this matter.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the minutes of the conference proceedings are not enough? We want to see the debates and the reasons for which the New Zealand and Australian proposals were turned down.

A full report of these debates and all the arguments used is, in fact, in the Library of this House. They are contained in Items 4 and 9 of the Volume placed in the Library. The only arguments used came at the second Plenary Session of the Conference and in the meeting of Committee I on 8th November. At the first meeting to which I have referred, the Plenary Session, the Australian and New Zealand delegates put the points of view of their countries. [Hon. Members: "Speech."] I hope the House will allow me to continue; it will save a lot of time if I can clear away once and for all this point which has taken up a good deal of the time of the House. At the Committee meeting speeches were made by the New Zealand and Australian delegates. They were supported by two speeches by the representatives of Afghanistan and France and opposed in a speech by the Brazilian representative, which was formally supported by a representative of Ecuador. The only other speech was one by Mr. Berle, the leader of the United States delegation. Lord Swinton did not speak.

Arising out of the last supplementary question and answer, might I ask whether the hon. Gentleman now thinks that the question concerning New Zealand and Australia has been resolved for good and that in future Debates we shall not hear that argument again?

The reason I asked for the indulgence of the House for a longer answer than I like to give, was in the hope that it would clear that point away.