The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Guatemala (Lawton)
Sir: The Department has received the Legation’s despatch No. 909 of March 29, 1933, in regard to the right granted by the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation for aircraft of a contracting state to enter territory of another contracting state.
In instruction No. 260, of January 27, 1933, the Department interpreted the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation to mean that in accordance with the clear intention of the convention, private aircraft of a contracting state may enter territory of another contracting state without the necessity of requesting that the Government in whose territory the flight is to be made grant permission for the flight. It would of course be necessary to comply with technical requirements as to entry and clearance and laws and regulations not inconsistent with the rights granted under the convention. Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala makes no specific reference to this interpretation, in its note of March 27, 1933, to the Legation, it calls attention to the fact that Article 55 of the Guatemalan air regulations provides that if the nationality of the civil aircraft to be flown over Guatemalan territory is that of a country which has a treaty with Guatemala on the subject of air navigation, the aircraft shall be cleared by the Guatemalan Consul at the point of departure, except that this provision in regard to clearance does not apply to aircraft employed on a regular international air line.
It is requested that you ascertain and report whether it is to be understood that the Guatemalan Government concurs in the Department’s interpretation of the Habana Convention. If it does concur it is requested that you state that your Government would appreciate it if the Guatemalan authorities concerned with the entrance of aircraft could be informed of the interpretation.
It may be remarked, in this connection, that the American Legation in Managua has recently reported that this interpretation has been accepted by the Government of Nicaragua11 which is also a party to the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation. The matter has also been brought by the Department to the attention of other countries which are parties to the convention, in connection with a request for information in regard to requirements as to entry and clearance.
The Department would be glad to be informed in more detail as to what is contemplated by the provision in regard to clearance by Guatemalan consuls in Article 55 of the Guatemalan aviation regulations, [Page 617]in view of the fact that “clearance” is a technical term usually applied to a function performed by customs officials.
In connection with the foregoing it may be stated that this Government considers that it is desirable to determine as soon as possible the status of special or touring flights by American aircraft with respect to entrance into countries which are parties to the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation.
Very truly yours,