The Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Hymans) to the American Ambassador in Belgium (Morris)30

No. 196/1019

Mr. Ambassador: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the agreement concluded by the United States and Belgium on October 22, 1932, concerning the reciprocal recognition of certificates of airworthiness for aircraft imported as merchandise, has, in its application, presented certain difficulties which have made it necessary for the Royal Government to denounce it, under Article 4 of the said agreement.

The difficulties indicated by the competent authorities result from the fact that the latter are obliged, under the stipulations of the arrangement, to deliver a Belgian certificate of airworthiness to American aeroplanes solely because these aeroplanes possess an American certificate of airworthiness.

The technical conditions required in the United States of America for the construction of certain aeroplanes are not similar to those of the countries which have adhered to the International Commission of Air Navigation (CIDNA). Thus, for large aeroplanes for transportation purposes, especially, the safety coefficient is fixed at 4 for the first flight, while the Belgian regulations prescribe the figure 5 (page 8 of the Regulations annexed to the Ministerial Decree of September 17, 1931).

Such a situation may be extremely detrimental to the interests of Belgian industry, the outlets for which are already very restricted and which thus finds itself seriously handicapped in the domestic market.

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His Majesty’s Government would be willing to enter into negotiations for a new agreement which would protect Belgian industry from the damage resulting from the less stringent American regulations.

In Belgium, the issuance of certificates and licenses of airworthiness for aircraft is regulated by the Royal Decree dated December 27, 1930, amended by the Royal Decree of December 1, 1932. A Ministerial Decree of September 17, 1931, drawn up in accordance with the Royal Decree of December 27, 1930, mentioned above, sets forth the conditions for airworthiness which must be complied with in order to obtain certificates and licenses of airworthiness; these conditions are patterned on those laid down by the International Commission of Air Navigation (CIDNA).

According to Articles 1 and 2 of the Royal Decree of December 27, 1930, all aeroplanes duly registered with the Belgian aeronautical registration authorities must be provided with a certificate or a license of airworthiness issued by the Air Administration.

Article 21 of the Royal Decree mentioned above provides that, upon condition of reciprocity, the Air Administration may approve the model specifications established by the competent authorities of the foreign country in which the experimental model was constructed, if the conditions of airworthiness in force in that foreign country are recognized as equivalent to those required by the Decree of September 17, 1931.

Article 23 stipulates that a certificate of airworthiness may be issued to aircraft constructed abroad in conformity with model specifications approved according to the conditions stated in Article 21.

The result is that, in actual practice, all aircraft constructed abroad must, indirectly, comply with the Belgian technical requirements in order to secure in Belgium a certificate of airworthiness; the experimental model must have been approved by the competent Belgian authorities and the airplanes themselves must conform to this model.

According to the regulations in force in Belgium, His Majesty’s Government would be willing to conclude a reciprocal convention with the United States, on condition that the latter agree in principle that, in order to be admitted into Belgium, models and series-aeroplanes of American manufacture must comply with the safety requirements prescribed by the Belgian regulations.

By virtue of such a convention, the Belgian Government would recognize the validity of verifications, both of model specifications and of series-aeroplanes, made in the United States, so that such verifications need not be renewed at the time when the aeroplanes are duly registered in Belgium or when the aeroplane motors are actually put into use in Belgium. However, this would not give foreign aircraft any right to exemption from complying with the Belgian safety requirements.

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Your Excellency will be good enough to find attached copies of the Royal Decrees of December 27, 1930; May 11, 1931; and December 1, 1932; as well as the Ministerial Decree of September 17, 1931.32

I avail myself [etc.]

For the Minister:
The Director General
E. Casteur
  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in his despatch No. 158, April 3; received April 14.
  2. Not found in Department files.