Selection of Montréal as the Permanent Seat of ICAO

On 6 June 1946, toward the conclusion of the first PICAO Interim Assembly, Montréal, Canada was selected as the permanent headquarters of the Organization, by 27 votes.


The other candidates cities at the time obtained respectively:


Paris - 9 votes

Geneva - 4 votes

A to-be-named city in China - 1 vote


The choice of Montréal was formally proposed by Chile and was supported at the Conference by Peru, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.


Why was Montreal selected? While insisting on the excellent hospitality offered since of the beginnings of the PICAO by the local federal, provincial and municipal authorities, the delegates to the first PICAO Interim Assembly recognized Montréal as a strategic centre with formidable economic, scientific, technical and aeronautical expansion potential. One delegate even noted that the vast spaces of the Canadian territory would offer unlimited possibilities for research and development in the field of aviation.


There had also been a certain degree of competition displayed between the United Kingdom and the United States regarding the ultimate headquarters of ICAO, with each wanting to become the location of the Organization’s Permanent Seat.


While the negotiations which would lead to the development of the United Nations Charter were still being finalized at this time, one detail already accepted was that the HQ of the fledgling UN would be in New York City.


Consequently, Montréal was further acknowledged as a very suitable compromise location, with Canada being an important member of the British Commonwealth on the one hand, and an important neighbour of the United States on the other. Montréal’s geographic proximity to New York also contributed to its selection.

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