No. 93 UCDA P150/2571
DUBLIN, 9 June 1941
At Mr. Gray's request, we held an informal conference in the Department today to meet Mr. Hinckley,1 one of the Assistant Secretaries of Commerce, to discuss with him on a hypothetical basis the re-establishment of a Clipper service2 between Foynes and the United States. Mr. Leydon, Mr. Flynn,3 Major Play (Mr. Hinckley's assistant), the American Minister and myself constituted the conference.
Mr. Gray said that, as he knew that the American Government and the Irish Government were interested in the Clipper service, he thought it would be a useful thing if Mr. Hinckley could return to the United States fully informed as to the attitude of the Irish Government. Mr. Hinckley had no special man- date from his Government to discuss this matter, but he thought that it would be very useful if the Clippers could come direct to Ireland instead of to Lisbon. The journey to Lisbon was much longer than that to Foynes, and, of course, the distance between Lisbon and England was far greater than between Foynes and England.
Mr. Hinckley also made it clear that his Government were not wedded to Pan American Airways. In fact, he said, the service might be run by his own Department or some Government organisation.
Mr. Leydon and Mr. Flynn gave the necessary information, and I told the Americans, as you had instructed me, that there would be no difficulty about re-starting the service provided that was done before America entered into the war. Once America had entered the war, difficulties, of course, would arise. We should require facilities for officials going to and from the United States and for any official bags we might have to send. No doubt, these matters could be discussed when the suggestion became more concrete, but it was only fair to make the situation generally clear now.
Both Mr. Gray and Mr. Hinckley suggested that we could send pilots over to the United States to be trained. They have a special system of training which they claim to be the best in the world. The pilots are trained in all branches of aviation, both theoretical and practical.
Mr. Gray told us that we would, no doubt, hear from them at an early date.
At the moment, the situation is that there is no commitment on either side in relation to any detail of the service, but the principle of resumption is accepted.
[initialled] J. P. W.
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