HC Deb 20 June 1960 vol 625 cc22-3
27. Mr. Strauss

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will make a statement about the recent visits to the United States of America of delegations from his Department to discuss the revision of the agreement that regulates the air services between the two countries.

Mr. Sandys

The purpose of these meetings was to review the schedules of air routes operated by British and American airlines under the Bermuda Agreement of 1946. Although considerable progress was made, it was not found possible to reach full agreement. The remaining points outstanding are now being considered by both Governments.

Mr. Strauss

Is it possible for the Minister to indicate—if not now, then in a statement published in HANSARD—what progress has been made and to what extent interchange of traffic has been freed by these discussions? Will he not agree that the present situation is most unsatisfactory and that there are far too many restrictions which are damaging to the public interest and to any prospect of a move forward in this matter? Has he the full support of the American State Department in this problem? Is it not a fact that it is the American operators, working with the Civil Aviation Board, who are holding up progress?

Mr. Sandys

The right hon. Gentleman has asked me a great deal. The meetings were confidential, but I think that I can say that a draft agreement on traffic in the Caribbean area was reached and that we have suggested to the American Government that that agreement should be put into effect without waiting for other outstanding matters to be settled

On the broader issue raised by the right hon. Gentleman, at different times Britain has advocated multilateral agreements for the relaxation of restrictions generally, but the response so far has not been very enthusiastic. So long as other countries continue to impose restrictions to protect their own airlines, we have to do the same, I am afraid.