The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Chile (Sevier)
Sir: The Department has found that aviators desiring to make pleasure or tourist flights in American aircraft to countries which are parties to the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation, adopted at Habana on February 20, 1928,2 have been in a number of instances uncertain as to the procedure which should be followed by them in entering these countries. They have in some instances approached the representatives of countries parties to the Habana Convention with a view to having them take up directly with their governments the matter of obtaining permission for American aircraft to be flown to these countries. This procedure is not required under the Convention.
The Department has refrained from taking up these cases through diplomatic channels for the reason that under the terms of the Habana Convention it is not required that the government of a contracting state; shall make a request through diplomatic channels for permission for such flights to be made over the territory of another contracting state.
The Department desires to reach an understanding with the governments of countries parties to the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation by which it will be recognized that, in accordance with the clear intention of the Convention, private American aircraft engaged in pleasure or tourist flights may enter these countries and that private aircraft of these countries making the same kind of flights may enter the United States under the general authorization contained in this Convention, subject to compliance with technical requirements regarding entry and clearance and with the regulations in force in the country to be visited, but without the necessity of requesting for a flight formal permission through the diplomatic mission [Page 496]of the country whose nationality the aircraft possesses or through the diplomatic mission of the country to be visited.
It will be recalled that Article 4 of the Convention referred to contemplates that each contracting state shall in time of peace accord freedom of innocent passage above its territory to the private aircraft of another contracting state. It has been the general practice to incorporate a similar provision in all multilateral or bilateral air navigation treaties or agreements. Such a provision obviates the necessity for obtaining for aircraft of a country which is a party to such treaty or agreement, special authorization for flights to be made over the territory of another country also a party to the treaty or agreement.
In view of the fact that the United States and Chile are parties to the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation, the Department will be glad to have you endeavor to reach an understanding with the Chilean authorities to the effect that private aircraft of United States registry making pleasure or tourist flights shall, under the general authorization contained in the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation, be permitted to enter Chile subject to compliance with the technical requirements of the Government of Chile regarding entry and clearance and the laws and regulations in force in that country, and that private aircraft of Chilean registry making pleasure or tourist flights shall, under the general authorization contained in the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation, be permitted to enter the United States subject to compliance with similar requirements of the Government of the United States and the laws and regulations in force in this country, without the necessity in either case of requesting through diplomatic channels that the flights be authorized. If this course is found to be agreeable to the Chilean Government, the Department will be glad to have you obtain from the Chilean authorities, for communication to the Department, a statement in duplicate outlining the requirements of the Government of Chile concerning the entry and clearance of aircraft, and to request that the appropriate Chilean authorities be notified of the procedure agreed upon.
In connection with flights made in accordance with the provisions of the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation, the Department encloses copies in duplicate of Aeronautics Bulletin No. 7–C in regard to requirements of different agencies of this Government concerning the entry and clearance of aircraft. You may furnish a copy of the bulletin to the Chilean authorities.
Aliens desiring to enter the United States should consult an American consular officer in regard to the visa requirements for entry of aliens into this country. Under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Bureau, aliens are required to show before departing from this country that they have paid any income taxes due this Government [Page 497]These matters are not mentioned in the enclosed bulletin but should be called to the attention of the Chilean authorities when the bulletin is delivered to them.
The Department hopes that any requirements that may be imposed by the Chilean authorities on the entry and clearance of aircraft will be as simple as possible, in order that international flights between the United States and Chile may not be impeded any more than is necessary. Should you see no objection, you may make such discreet use of this statement as may appear advisable.
As you are aware, an air navigation arrangement has been in force between the United States and Canada since 1929.3 Under this arrangement, the aircraft of each country are, subject to compliance with the terms of the arrangement, permitted to enter the other country without the necessity of obtaining formal permission from the government of the country to be visited. In this respect the arrangement is like the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation. The Department understands that the arrangement with Canada has been very satisfactory in its operation. An arrangement similar to the one with Canada has been concluded by this Government with the governments of several European countries.
A similar instruction has been sent to the American diplomatic missions in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Haiti4 in view of the fact that these countries are also parties to the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation. The Governments of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama have informed the Government of the United States that they concur in the interpretation of the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation given in this instruction.
For your information, it may be stated that this Government does not contemplate entering into formal agreements with the governments of countries parties to the Habana Convention supplementing the Convention itself. It merely desires to reach an understanding with these governments in regard to the interpretation of the Convention so far as concerns the right of private aircraft of one of the parties to enter territory of the other parties on pleasure or tourist flights without the necessity of obtaining an authorization for a flight from the government of the country to which the flight is to be made.
Very truly yours,