Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 23 Aviation Policy Board

Chapter 23. Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1968 (Record Group 128)

Table of Contents

Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1989 (Record Group 128) from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Congressional Aviation Policy Board (1947-48)

JC.117 The new and terrible threat posed by modern aircraft carrying atomic weapons, coupled with the threatened bankruptcy of the aircraft and air carrier industries, raised grave concerns about the country's air defenses in the period immediately following World War II. Accordingly, on July 18, 1947, President Harry S. Truman appointed a panel of private citizens, the Presidential Air Policy Commission, to assist him in formulating a national policy on aviation.

JC.118 By act of July 30, 1947 (Public Law 80-287), the Congressional Aviation Policy Board, a similar body but composed of five Members of each House of Congress, was established. The Congressional Aviation Policy Board was directed to study current and future needs of American aviation, both civil and military, and to develop a national aviation policy that would meet the needs of national defense, interstate and foreign commerce, and the postal service. It was to study the current and future needs of the aircraft and related industries, determine the aircraft and air transportation industries necessary to provide for these needs, and suggest the proper role of the government in aviation matters.

JC.119 At the first meeting of the Congressional Aviation Policy Board, held on September 15, 1947, Senator Owen Brewster of Maine was elected chairman, and Representative Carl Hinshaw of California, vice chairman. The Board worked closely with an advisory council composed of aviation experts drawn from Government, industry, military, and other sources. In addition, the Board consulted with the Presidential Air Policy Commission in order to prevent a duplication of effort and to provide for the mutual exchange of data and information.

JC.120 The Congressional Aviation Policy Board established four subcommittees to consider different components of a coordinated aviation policy. The subcommittees dealt with combat aviation, Government organization, manufacturing, and transportation.

JC.121 The Board held intermittent executive sessions from September 15, 1947, to February 23, 1948, at which high-level Government and military officials discussed the problems facing U.S. military and civil aviation and possible solutions. On March 1, 1948, the Board issued its report (S. Rept. 949, 80th Cong., 2d sess., Serial 11206), which contained 92 recommendations in five areas: combat aviation, air transport, aircraft manufacture, research, and Government organization. Although it had issued its report, the Board continued to function until the end of the 80th Congress on December 31, 1948, working to translate its recommendations into national policy.

JC.122 The records of the Policy Board include administrative materials, documents concerning the executive hearings and meetings of the board, correspondence, legislative files, and certain records relating to the President's Air Policy Commission. There are also records of the subcommittees on combat aviation, Government organization, and transportation. Two card files index certain records of the Board. A few of the records are security classified.

JC.123 Types of documents include correspondence, memorandums, minutes, agenda, reports, studies, charts, working papers, copies of bills and resolutions, press clippings, and printed informational materials, as well as payroll and personnel records. There are transcripts of the hearings and meetings of the Board and of the press conferences held by the chairman and vice chairman. The records relate to proposed legislation, governmental aviation activities, aviation requirements of the Air Force and Navy, methods of maintaining a strong aircraft industry, the financial position of the air transportation industry, ground facilities, safety issues, and many other issues involving aviation.

JC.124 A finding aid is available for these records. For related records, see records of the President's Air Policy Commission among Record Group 220, Records of Presidential Committees, Commissions, and Boards.

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1989.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42) by Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989), and Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245) by Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989).