The Under Secretary of State
Colonial Office, S.W.I.
3rd July 1923.
reference to Colonial Office letter No. 23303/23 of the 18th May,
relative to the proposed establishment of a trans-desert motor service
between Damascus and Baghdad, I am commanded by the Air-Council to state
that they have carefully considered the question and have arrived at the
The balance of
advantage from a purely military point of view will always rest with
the Amman – Baghdad route, as this route is wholly in British
The advantage of
from the point of view of a practicable business proposition appears
to rest with the Damascus – Baghdad route.
At present the
Air route from Amman to Baghdad is sufficient for all Air Staff
requirements. The Air Council cannot, therefore, press the opening
of a motor route between Amman and Baghdad.
As it is almost
certain that the French authorities will open the Damascus – Baghdad
route if the present British Company – Nairn Transport Company –
fail to do so, the Air Council agree that Mr. Nairn should be given
such facilities as me by practicable to help him with his task.
I am, etc..
(Sgd) J.A. WEBSTER.
Ministry Reference: 427932/23/3,6.
commanded by the Air Council to forward, for your consideration of the
Postmaster General, the enclosed copy of a letter which has been
received from the Near East Limited.
Council understand that the Postmaster General has already received
from the Colonial Office copies of correspondence relating to the
proposed establishment of a trans-desert motor service, and they
feel that the reply to the near East Limited should issue from your
department, and that the Postmaster general should also undertake
any consultations with the Foreign and Colonial Offices which may be
required in the matter. The Air Council would, however, be glad to
have the opportunity of seeing in advance the proposed reply to the
seems, however, desirable that the position of the Air Ministry in
regard to the present air mail service should be stated for the
assistance of the Postmaster General in considering what attitude he
will adopt in regard to the proposal of the Nairn Transport Company
the point of view of the Air Force the carriage of mails is not more
than an incident to the regular passage of machines over the route
for training and petrol purposes. The discontinuance of the carriage
of mails would therefore not (over any considerable period) affect
the amount of flying over the route but if mail service was not in
question the passing of machines could be more easily varied by the
Air Officer Commanding in Iraq and the Middle East in regards to
other service requirements.
Regarding the Air Force desert mail service as a precursor of a
possible eventual civil air mail, the air mail, the Ari Council are
interested from a somewhat different point of view. While
recognising that any air mail route must eventually stand or fall by
its merits in comparison other forms of transport, they would hope
that the experience gained on this route will not be wasted or the
service discontinued without due consideration of such
up the position the Air Council are prepared
continue the carriage of mail, subject to reconsideration should the
requirements of the Royal Air Force at some future date require it,
but if the Postmaster General is satisfied that there are adequate
grounds for favouring the transference of the service to the Nairn
Company they would not feel justified opposing that course.
of this correspondence are being forwarded to the Foreign Office and
to the Colonial Office.