Learn about the beta

Aerial navigation (Art. 313 to 320)

Notes to Part XI, Articles 313 to 320

The treaty restoring friendly relations between the United States and Germany signed at Berlin, August 25, 1921 and in force on November 11, 1921 with retroactive effect to July 2, 1921, stipulates that “Germany undertakes to accord to the United States and the United States shall have and enjoy … all the rights and advantages” stipulated for its benefit by this part of this treaty, “notwithstanding the fact that such treaty has not been ratified by the United States”. The rights and advantages of nationals of the United States specified in the joint resolution of Congress, approved July 2, 1921 (p. 18) were specifically mentioned in an understanding included in the Senate’s resolution of advice and consent to ratification of October 18, 1921. The Senate in that resolution made a further condition “that the United States shall not be [Page 643]represented or participate in any body, agency or commission, nor shall any person represent the United States as a member of any body, agency or commission in which the United States is authorized to participate by this Treaty, unless and until an Act of the Congress of the United States shall provide for such representation or participation.”

This part is, ipsissimis verbis, an annex, technically a schedule, of the treaty restoring friendly relations as printed by the Department of State in Treaty Series 658, but not as printed in 42 Stat. 1939.

Article 313.

The aircraft of the Allied and Associated Powers shall have full liberty of passage and landing over and in the territory and territorial waters of Germany, and shall enjoy the same privileges as German aircraft, particularly in case of distress by land or sea.

Article 314.

The aircraft of the Allied and Associated Powers shall, while in transit to any foreign country whatever, enjoy the right of flying over the territory and territorial waters of Germany without landing, subject always to any regulations which may be made by Germany, and which shall be applicable equally to the aircraft of Germany and to those of the Allied and Associated countries.

Article 315.

All aerodromes in Germany open to national public traffic shall be open for the aircraft of the Allied and Associated Powers, and in any such aerodrome such aircraft shall be treated on a footing of equality with German aircraft as regards charges of every description, including charges for landing and accommodation.

Article 316.

Subject to the present provisions, the rights of passage, transit and landing, provided for in Articles 313, 314 and 315, are subject to the observance of such regulations as Germany may consider it necessary to enact, but such regulations shall be applied without distinction to German aircraft and to those of the Allied and Associated countries.

[Page 644]

Text of May 7:

Subject to the present provisions, the rights of passage, transit and landing, provided for in Article 313, 314 and 315, are subject to the observance of such regulations as Germany may consider it necessary to enact, but such regulations shall be applied without distinction to German aircraft and to the aircraft of Allied and Associated Countries.

Article 317.

Certificates of nationality, airworthiness, or competency, and licences, issued or recognised as valid by any of the Allied or Associated Powers, shall be recognised in Germany as valid and as equivalent to the certificates and licences issued by Germany.

Article 318.

As regards internal commercial air traffic, the aircraft of the Allied and Associated Powers shall enjoy in Germany most favoured nation treatment.

Article 319.

Germany undertakes to enforce the necessary measures to ensure that all German aircraft flying over her territory shall comply with the Rules as to lights and signals, Rules of the Air and Rules for Air Traffic on and in the neighbourhood of aerodromes, which have been laid down in the Convention relative to Aerial Navigation concluded between the Allied and Associated Powers.

Article 320.

The obligations imposed by the preceding provisions shall remain in force until January 1, 1923, unless before that date Germany shall have been admitted into the League of Nations or shall have been authorised, by consent of the Allied and Associated Powers, to adhere to the Convention relative to Aerial Navigation concluded between those Powers.

Note to XI, 320

The Conference of Ambassadors permitted from May 5, 1922 the German manufacture for import and export of civil aeronautic material as defined under article 198.

The aeronautical Inter-Allied Commission of Control set up by article 210 ceased to exist in March 1922. On June 8, 1921 the Conference of Ambassadors had approved 7 of 9 rules for discriminating [Page 645]between military and civil aircraft and submitted the remaining two rules to the Supreme Council. The rules were communicated to Germany by a decision of May 10, 1922, to be effective on November 5. For supervising their execution the appointment of the Aeronautic Committee of Guarantee was organized and notified to the German Government on April 15, 1922. Within those rules, which were revised by the Allied Military Committee of Versailles in a report of January 27, 1925, Germany was free to manufacture and trade in aviation material after May 5, 1922.

The restrictions upon German civil aviation set forth in articles 313–19 expired on January 1, 1923 in virtue of this article. On January 13 the Conference of Ambassadors decided to inform the International Commission for Air Navigation that Germany had been invited to adhere to the international convention for air navigation signed at Paris October 13, 1919 as one of the instruments of the peace conference. At that time an amendment to article 5 of the convention was open for ratification, which would relax its provision closing the air space above contracting states to all non-contracting states by permitting derogations through bilateral conventions. Also under way was an amendment to article 34, which was protocolized for ratification on June 23, to establish voting equality for members of the commission.

The occupation of the Ruhr at that time brought to a halt Germany’s movement toward adhering to the international convention which had been intended to furnish the foundation for a system of civil aviation. Germany promulgated on April 23, 1923 a decree requiring special authorization for all commercial aircraft which flew over German territory and orders were issued to arrest all pilots and confiscate all aircraft that lacked the proper authorization. Exceptions were made for nationals of states with which Germany had bilateral conventions: Switzerland, September 14, 1920 (2 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 331); Denmark, April 25, 1922 (18 ibid., p. 227); Netherlands, July 24, 1922 (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1929, ii, 390); and the Free City of Danzig. Altogether 14 French aircraft were confiscated under the decree, French Government protests notwithstanding.

After the conclusion of the Locarno settlement on October 16, 1925, further steps were taken. The relations with individual neighbors were adjusted by a series of conventions on air navigation between Germany and other states. The most significant of these in their effect were the conventions of May 22, 1926 with France (International [Page 646]Commission for Air Navigation, Official Bulletin, No. 12, p. 6) and with Belgium of May 29, 1926 (ibid., No. 13, p. 28). They were, however, preceded by a treaty with Austria signed at Vienna on May 19, 1925 (52 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 121) and a provisional agreement with Sweden signed at Stockholm on May 29, 1925 (46 ibid., p. 121). The Belgian convention was followed by a convention on aerial navigation and an agreement on the establishment and operation of regular airways with Czechoslovakia signed at Prague on January 22, 1927 (89 ibid., pp. 231, 261); a convention with Italy signed at Berlin on May 20, 1927 (79 ibid., p. 179); an agreement with Great Britain signed at Berlin on June 29, 1927 (71 ibid., p. 165); a general convention with Spain signed at Madrid on December 9, 1927 (79 ibid., p. 203); a convention with Norway signed at Berlin on January 23, 1929 (93 ibid., p. 197); a convention with the Governing Commission of the Saar of April 25, 30, 1930 (International Commission for Air Navigation, Official Bulletin, No. 16, p. 17); and an agreement with Poland, signed at Berlin on August 28, 1929 (ibid., No. 22, p. 29).

The Aeronautic Committee of Guarantee was dissolved by the Conference of Ambassadors on September 1, 1926, a week before Germany’s admission to the League of Nations. At Geneva Germany was represented on the Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference, which spent several years in working out the distinctions to be drawn between civil and military aviation, of which Germany was supposed to have none. The rules which had been in force for Germany were a basis of that inquiry.

German commercial aviation made rapid strides after 1926. Though its objections to the 1919 international convention were considered by the International Commission for Air Navigation in 1929 and amendments meeting German points drawn up, German policy was not reconciled to the multilateral system. Instead, the series of bilateral treaties was the basis of the German network of commercial air routes.