The Chargé in Sweden (Crocker) to the Secretary of State

No. 550

Sir: In compliance with the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 30 of July 13 [12], 1932, and the Department’s instruction No. 134 [Page 943]of July 7, 1932,6 I have the honor to report that I attended the sessions of the International Technical Committee of Aerial Experts held in Stockholm from July 21–23, inclusive.7

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With regard to the points8 raised by the American members on the draft convention and which were communicated by the Embassy at Paris to the Secretary General, M. Sudre, on July 13, 1932, the following comments were made by the Committee:

Article 2, sub-paragraph (1) and (2) : The American proposal to exempt from attachment aircraft carrying mail under contract was not acceptable to the majority of the Committee which felt that it would be undesirable to exempt an airplane which might be carrying only a letter or two and that the question was more academic than practical in that an airplane carrying mail under contract would in any case probably be regarded as exempt under the term “regular line of public transportation”.

As to the clarification of the words “regular line of public transportation”, suggested in the second paragraph of the American comment, it was the desire of the Committee to leave the words in the text as they stood but in order to meet our wishes they agreed to include in the procès-verbal a statement that it is the sense of the Committee to define the words “public transportation” so as to include all common carriers whether or not they are technically common carriers.

Article 2, sub-paragraph 3: With regard to the American desire to have the words “ready to depart” defined with somewhat more technical accuracy the Committee pointed out that it was the sense of all the delegates that maritime law should apply and that an aircraft would be considered ready to depart according to the definition applicable under maritime law.

Article 3, sub-paragraph 1: The American point of view regarding the situation with reference to threatened attachment of aircraft included within the classification of aircraft exempt from attachment was accepted and that article was amended to read as follows, in translation: (Exempt from precautionary attachment) “All other aircraft ready to leave for the purpose of transporting passengers or goods for a remuneration, excepting in the case where it is a question of a debt contracted for the trip which it is about to make”.

Article 3, sub-paragraph 2: The Committee decided to leave it to each country to determine what shall be the terms and conditions of a sufficient bond and amended it to read as follows, in translation: “The bond is sufficient if it cover the amount of the debt and expenses and if it be devoted solely to the payment of the creditor, or if it cover the value of the aircraft if the latter be less than the amount of the debt and expenses”.

[Page 944]

Article 5: The suggestion of the American members as set forth in the eighth paragraph of their communication of July 13, 1932, above mentioned that the language of the article be clarified so that it will definitely state whether or not the burden of proof is upon the attaching creditor to establish that the aircraft is not exempt from seizure met with the reply from the Committee that the question will be left wholly to the law of procedure in each country.

Article 7: The American suggestion that the words “international transportation” be more exactly defined was met by the action of the Committee in amending the article to exclude the words; it now reads as follows, in translation: “The present Convention shall apply on the territory of all the contracting states to all aircraft registered in another contracting state”.

It will be observed that on the whole the Committee gave full consideration to the observations and suggestions of the American members of the draft convention as set forth in their communication under reference.

The Committee adopted the amended draft on July 23, 1932, and proceeded with the order of the day. It was decided that the several Commissions should remain as at present constituted.

No definite decision was reached as to the fixing of the time and place for the meeting of the Eighth Session but tentatively it was agreed to meet in Rome, probably in May, 1933.

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Respectfully yours,

Edward Savage Crocker
  1. Neither printed.
  2. For the proceedings of these sessions, see Coimté International Technique d’Experts Juridiques Aériens (C. I. T. E. J. A.), Compte Rendu Provisoire de la 7 Session (Document No. 179, Septembre 1932). For English texts of the draft conventions adopted at these sessions, see Department of State, Treaty Information, Bulletin No. 36, September 30, 1932, pp. 13–18.
  3. See supra.