800.8810 Compagnie Générale Transatlantique/32

The Secretary of State to the French Chargé (Henry)

Sir: In further reference to your Embassy’s communication of July 5, 193047 and in confirmation of the telephone conversation of July 22nd between M. Bousquet of your Embassy and an officer of this Department, I take pleasure in informing you that a letter has been received from the Department of Commerce to the effect that there is no objection to the resumption of the airplane service between the steamship Ile de France of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and the coast of the United States.

The Government of the United States in granting permission to the resumption this year of this airplane service wishes to set forth again the basis, under the laws of this country, upon which this Department and the Department of Commerce are permitted to authorize the operation of civil aircraft, possessing foreign nationality, upon and over the territory of the United States.

I wish therefore to refer to the Department’s communication to your Embassy of August 20, 1928,48 on this subject and especially the second paragraph of the Department of Commerce’s letter quoted therein.49

Section 6, subsection (c) of the “Air Commerce Act of 1926” reads as follows:

“If a foreign nation grants a similar privilege in respect of aircraft of the United States, and/or airmen serving in connection therewith, [Page 65] the Secretary of Commerce may authorize aircraft registered under the law of the foreign nation and not a part of the armed forces thereof to be navigated in the United States, and may by regulation exempt such aircraft, and/or airmen serving in connection therewith, from the requirements of section 3, other than the air traffic rules; but no foreign aircraft shall engage in interstate or intrastate air commerce.”

The granting therefore of authorization by this Government to the aircraft of a foreign nationality to operate on and over the territory of the United States is not in its nature permanent but is dependent upon the existence of similar privileges granted to the aircraft of the United States by that foreign government with respect to its own territory.

The Government of the United States wishes it to be understood therefore that, in the absence of a reciprocal air agreement between our two Governments, the authorization granted herein to the French seaplanes of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique to operate commercially in and over the territory of this country is a temporary permission and, although no time limit is set thereon, its duration or continuance is contingent upon the existence at the same time of the French Government’s permission to civil aircraft of the United States to operate commercially in and over French territory.

In closing it should be pointed out that if this service is temporarily discontinued the request for this Government’s authorization for its resumption the next year should be made thirty days in advance of the initial flight.

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Francis White
  1. Not printed; it stated that the Société Transatlantique Aérienne proposed to resume, under the same conditions as last year, the seaplane service between the steamships of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and the American coast and requested that this decision be made known to the naval authorities concerned so as to obtain a permit to land either at New York or Boston (800.8810 Compagnie Générale Transatlantique/25).
  2. Not printed.
  3. “In view of the assurance of reciprocity contained in the Ambassador’s communication, the Secretary of Commerce is prepared, under the provisions of the Air Commerce Act of 1926, to authorize such operation.” (800.8810 Compagnie Générale Transatlantique/13)