The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (Pogue)
My Dear Mr. Pogue: The receipt is acknowledged of your letter of August 6, addressed to Mr. Taft, concerning the International Air Transport Agreement adopted at Chicago.
I am inclined to believe that the intent of the Air Transport Agreement is clear, namely that the freedoms granted under Article 1, Paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of Section I apply to only one route between any two contracting nations. The language in this respect seems to the Department to be conclusive in that it “relates only to through services on a route constituting a reasonably direct line out from and back to the homeland of the State whose nationality the aircraft possesses”. In the Department’s concept, therefore, under the Air Transport Agreement the Netherlands would be authorized to operate one route connecting the Netherlands with the United States on a reasonably direct course. It would not obligate this Government to permit, for example, of a line from Amsterdam south to Africa, west to Brazil and north to Miami.
Furthermore, our concept of the term “homeland” would not include the Netherlands East Indies or Curaçao. Even if the Netherland [Page 1469] authorities should claim at a later date that these territories are under autonomous governments and therefore entitled to enjoy rights under international agreements equally with the mother country, we would, it is believed, be justified in maintaining that they are not autonomous to the extent of being able to enjoy the privileges granted in the Air Transport Agreement unless they themselves became members of the International Civil Aviation Organization and accepted the Air Transport Agreement in the same way that the British Dominions and India are entitled to do so.
There is, of course, no objection to signing a bilateral agreement with a country which has also accepted the Air Transport Agreement. However, the Department does not believe that it is necessary to do so unless there is some advantage to be derived. In the case of the Netherlands it appears to me that if this Government suggests entering into negotiations for a bilateral agreement we shall immediately raise the question of the desire of the Netherland Government to operate services to the United States from the Netherlands East Indies and from Curaçao. If the Board is willing to see those rights accorded in a bilateral agreement, it would probably be desirable to proceed with these negotiations in the near future; but if the Board is not prepared to accord these rights, or either of them, to the Netherlands, then in the Department’s opinion it would be preferable not to open the question until compelled to do so.
With respect to the possibility of negotiating bilateral agreements with El Salvador, China and other countries which have accepted the Air Transport Agreement the same reasoning applies. If the Board is prepared to grant the rights which it has reason to believe will be requested by these countries, negotiations might very well be entered into; otherwise, it is believed to be preferable not to raise these questions.