811.79612/71

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Mexico ( Norweb )

No. 399

Sir: The Department has received the Legation’s despatch No. 1468 of June 1, 1934, in further relation to the interpretation of Article IV of the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation.

You transmit a copy of a communication dated May 24, from the Foreign Office expressing the view that the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation applies only to the regulation of international aerial commercial traffic, and proposing that an agreement be concluded between the United States and Mexico regulating noncommercial flights by aircraft between the United States and Mexico.

The Government of the United States does not agree with the view expressed by the Foreign Office that the convention referred to applies only to commercial traffic. It is believed the texts of Articles II and III of the convention clearly show that the view of the Foreign Office is not correct. These articles are as follows:

Article II

“The present convention applies exclusively to private aircraft.

Article III

“The following shall be deemed to be state aircraft:

a)
Military and naval aircraft;
b)
Aircraft exclusively employed in state service, such as posts, customs, and police.

“Every other aircraft shall be deemed to be a private aircraft.

“All state aircraft other than military, naval, customs and police aircraft shall be treated as private aircraft and as such shall be subject to all the provisions of the present convention.”

It is believed to be clear from the text of Article III, taken in connection with Article II, that the convention applies to all aircraft except military, naval, customs, and police aircraft.

The Governments of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, which are also parties to the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation, have already informed the Government of the United States that they agree to the interpretation of this Government that under the terms of the convention aircraft of a country party to the convention are entitled to make special or touring [Page 509] flights to another country, also a party, without the necessity of obtaining formal authorization for the flight, subject to compliance with the laws and regulations in force in the country to be visited not inconsistent with the rights granted under the convention.

A special agreement with Mexico regarding the entry of aircraft would be unnecessary, in the estimation of this Government, in view of the provisions of the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation and would be inconsistent with the action taken by this Government in reaching an understanding regarding the interpretation of the convention with the Governments of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

The Department is especially desirous of reaching an understanding with the Mexican Government at this time concerning pleasure or tourist flights. It would, therefore, have no objection to an exchange of notes between the Embassy and the Foreign Office, interpretive of the Habana Convention on Commercial Aviation, in which it would be stated that, subject to compliance with technical requirements as to entry and clearance and laws and regulations in force in the country to be visited, pleasure or tourist aircraft of each country will be permitted to enter the other country without the necessity of obtaining special authorization for the flight from the Government of the country to which the flight is to be made.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
R. Walton Moore