811.79640/234a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham)

141. You are instructed immediately to deliver the following note to the British Foreign Office.

“Under instructions from my Government I have the honor to refer to the negotiations conducted in Washington in December, 1935, between representatives of the British, Irish Free State and Canadian Governments and representatives of the United States with reference to the question of the establishment of a transatlantic air service. Specifically, I desire to refer to two letters addressed by the Secretary of Commerce to the Secretary of State86 which appear in the minutes of the meeting of December 12, 1935, as transmitted to and now in the possession of the Air Ministry.

My Government regrets that owing to certain questions which have arisen as to the extent of the authority of certain officials of the United States it has not been possible to conclude the arrangements by May 1, 1936, the date referred to in the before-mentioned letters from the Secretary of Commerce to the Secretary of State.

My Government is, however, anxious, now that these legal questions have been resolved, to designate suitable airways within the United States territory and to approve the applications of Imperial Airways, Limited, provided your Government is in accord with the Government of the United States on the following points, confirmation of which I should be glad to receive from you:

1. Reciprocity. Such approval to be subject to the other Governments concerned granting full reciprocal privileges in all respects including routes, period and frequencies of service to an air line company of the United States acceptable to the proper authority of the United States.

2. Applicable laws and regulations. Such approval to be subject to the adherence by any applicant air line company of other countries to the applicable laws and regulations of the United States but it is hereby understood that the Secretary of Commerce under existing law may exempt the foreign aircraft concerned from establishing their conformity to the usual domestic regulations as to airworthiness and airman-competence, though not from conformity to the air traffic [Page 721] rules. Furthermore, no authority can be given to engage in interstate or intrastate commerce over United States territory.

3. Airways and service. Though the Secretary of Commerce has, of course, no power internationally and no authority by domestic law to designate airways in any region other than that within the jurisdiction of the United States, yet, naturally, in proceeding to make a designation of a particular airway within the United States, he may appropriately take into consideration the respective approaches and connections of possible airways outside the United States jurisdiction with those within it.

4. Transatlantic airway. The Government of the United States therefore, having in view the best interests of all parties as affecting air commerce to the United States, would wish to have it understood that it is willing to approve such application to land at and take off from one of the following airports on the Atlantic seacoast; viz., New York City, New York, or Baltimore, Maryland, Norfolk, or Cape Charles, Virginia, or Charleston, South Carolina, when coming from any port in England; via the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, or Canada; or via Bermuda and other countries on a frequency not to exceed two round trips per week.

My Government is not disposed at this time to designate in the United States a separate airway leading to Bermuda but prefers to regard the route between one of the aforementioned ports and Hamilton, Bermuda, as a leg of the proposed transatlantic airway described above. Temporary authority to land at and take off from one of the said ports when coming from or going to Port Hamilton, Bermuda, on a frequency not to exceed two round trips per week, will be issued on a reciprocal basis, however, to a British air line, or air lines, satisfactory to the Government of Great Britain pending the establishment of regular through-service from points outside Bermuda to the United States on the proposed transatlantic airway. It is the belief of my Government that when the arrangements for the transatlantic air route and service between New York and London are concluded that, if agreeable to both Governments, the service on the Bermuda-United States leg of the transatlantic route can, if the traffic warrants, be increased over that on the through transatlantic service on said route, but it would be required that the local traffic between Bermuda and the United States should be transported on aircraft restricted to that leg of the route and that traffic destined for through service beyond Bermuda should be restricted to aircraft operating in such through service. The routes and services to be subject to alteration by mutual consent of the Governments concerned from time to time as conditions may warrant.

5. Non-exclusiveness. Approval of the permits shall be on a nonexclusive basis and the air transport companies flying the services herein provided must at all times have the approval of their respective Governments.

6. Right of revocation. Because of limitations of law on the authority of any agency of the Government of the United States to issue an irrevocable permit the Government of the United States desires to have it understood that any Government concerned may, for important reasons of public policy and upon due notice, withdraw at any time any approval already given by it.

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If your Government is in accord with the Government of the United States on the foregoing points I should be pleased to be so informed in order that my Government may address similar communications to the Government of Canada and to the Government of the Irish Free State.

I should likewise be pleased to be informed concerning the routes over which your Government proposes to accord permission to fly.

Upon receipt of satisfactory information on the above points from the Governments concerned my Government will be pleased promptly to approve the pending application of Imperial Airways.”

  1. Dated December 12, 1935; neither printed.