1945: The Canadian Preparatory Committee and PICAO into action


Montreal – Postcard showing the Dominion Square Building

The Executive Committee of the Chicago Conference recommended that the seat of the provisional ICAO be located in Canada, taking into consideration the war circumstances in Europe and the wish to start its work rapidly; Canada was also a logical choice as an important aviation nation and one with strong links with Europe. However, the permanent seat of the Organization would be determined at the final meeting of the Interim Assembly of the Provisional ICAO.


On 6 June 1945, the required number of twenty-six nations had adhered to the Interim Agreement on International Civil Aviation, so that the Provisional ICAO (PICAO) could come into being, as per Article 1 of the latter Agreement. The host country, Canada, set up on 22 June 1945 a working group, called the Canadian Preparatory Committee (CPC), for the purpose of studying the intended functions of PICAO, planning the organization that would be required to carry out these functions, and formulating the procedures that would necessarily lead to the commencement of PICAO’s activities; Wing Commander P.A, Cumyn of the Canadian Cabinet Secretariat was nominated Chairman of the CPC. Over a period of six weeks (from 27 June until 15 August 1945), the CPC held 18 meetings in Montreal, Ottawa and Washington, D.C.; a small secretariat of twenty-five staff had been seconded from the Canadian Government and was located in the Dominion Square Building.


Dr. Edward Warner

In June 1945, Dr. Edward Warner, Vive-Chairman of the US Civil Aeronautics Board and Member of the US Delegation to the Chicago Conference, assisted the Canadian Preparatory Committee to make the necessary arrangements for the first Interim Council of PICAO. Dr. Albert Roper, long-time Secretary General of the International Commission on Air Navigation (ICAN) had been invited for consultation and advice; he arrived in Montreal early in July.


While war hostilities essentially ended on the day before, the first session of the Interim Council met on 15 August 1945 at 14:30 in the Rose Room of the Windsor Hotel, adjacent to Dominion Square, and began PICAO’s activities. Among the twenty country-members of the Council invited, Brazil and Mexico could not arrive on time for the opening meeting. Canada's Minister of Reconstruction C.D. Howe welcomed the Interim Council and noted that this was "the first post-war organization of the United Nations to get under way...".


On 17 August 1945 during the third meeting of the opening session of the Interim Council, Dr. Warner was elected the first President of the Council of PICAO and then continued as President of the ICAO Council until his retirement on 18 April 1957. Dr. Roper became Secretary General. Both had played major roles at the Chicago Conference.


Montreal – Postcard showing the Windsor Hotel


August 1945 – Interim Council in Session at the Windsor Hotel



August-September 1945

Front page of the first issue of the PICAO Journal (Number 1), which recorded the activities, studies and progress of PICAO.

The PICAO Journal had 8 numbers and the last one was dated September 1946 – May 1947



In November 1946, the PICAO Journal became the PICAO Monthly Bulletin.