Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 251–262 | Cite as

Opening and closing doors: US postwar aviation policy: 1943–1963

  • James L. GormlyEmail author


This article examines the development of US international civil aviation policy between 1944 and 1964, as the USA instituted policies to expand and protect the global aviation opportunities of its airlines. This entailed hard bargaining with the British and others to establish and maintain the Bermuda formula as well as efforts to contain and isolate Soviet and Soviet Bloc aviation behind the Iron Curtain. By the mid-1950s, the success of American aviation policy was clear. But thereafter, as the capabilities of non-American airlines increased and the needs of American carriers changed, the effectiveness of containing Soviet Bloc aviation and maintaining the Bermuda formula waned. Responding to the changing realities of international aviation, the Kennedy administration undertook a reassessment of American aviation policy that recognised the inability of isolating Soviet and Soviet bloc aviation and the need to modify the Bermuda principles to better protect the competiveness of American flag carriers.


US civil aviation policy Chicago air conference Bermuda formula cold war Civil Aeronautics Board 


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    The State Department opposed the CAB ability to impose such limitation. It pointed out that in supporting the Bermuda agreement, the USA had strongly rejected other countries placing arbitrary and unilateral restrictions on air operations. The CAB responded that limitations would be applied only in cases where foreign carriers abused Fifth and Sixth Freedom traffic to the USA, and that such actions did not violate the Bermuda agreement. In adjudicating the two positions, the Justice Department found that neither had definitive argument, but the CAB’s position was the most persuasive. In the White House statement, the CAB position was adopted and that legislative authority should be given to support such CAB actions. Ibid.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryWashington and Jefferson CollegeWashingtonUSA

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