Potsdam Conference: Sitting (from left) Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Joseph Stalin, William Daniel Leahy, James F. Byrnes, and Harry S. Truman.

Air Power and the Coming Peace Treaties

THE United Nations have as yet made no authoritative statement of their attitude toward the future aviation activity of the former Axis countries. Yet decisions in this field cannot be long delayed.

On December 26, 1945, following the Moscow Conference, the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Great Britain and the United States announced the procedure for the preparation of the peace treaties with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland. Such treaties, after being drafted by certain of the Great Powers, are to be submitted to an international peace conference scheduled to be held in May. At some later date, and under some procedure not yet announced, the peace terms to be imposed upon Germany and Japan must be fixed. The treaties with the minor enemy powers and the eventual terms to be imposed on Germany and Japan must each contain definitive air clauses. A clear understanding of the method and degree of control of military and civil aviation which is to be imposed upon the major and minor enemy countries is essential.

Little of our past thinking on this subject is of value today. The distinction between "civil" and "military" aircraft, and the theory that the former cannot be converted to use as bombers or fighters, no longer can provide us with a sense of security. The potentials of aircraft and airborne missiles are changing too rapidly to permit the old distinction to carry much meaning. We are now aware that an atomic bomb can be launched from a "civil" aircraft. The destructive power of the atomic bomb is still unmeasured and our ability to control its development and use is the most pressing problem of civilization.

The process of contraction in time and space, and the accompanying intensification of our danger in the event of war, continue unabated. While this paper was in course of preparation, for example, press dispatches on almost successive days announced: 1, the non-stop flight of a jet-propelled plane, burning cheap commercial kerosene, from Long Beach, California, to New York

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