The Ambassador in Mexico ( Messersmith ) to the Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Castillo Nájera )33
Excellency: I have the honor to refer to the conversation which I had with Your Excellency in the latter part of November of this year with respect to the visit of a demonstration unit of the United States Army Air Force to Mexico City. At that time I also discussed this matter with the Under Secretary, Dr. Tello, and with the Minister of National Defense General Urquizo, and with General Salinas of the Mexican Army Air Force. In all of these conversations I indicated that the demonstration unit which would visit Mexico City would be composed of two parts:
- The planes to be demonstrated to the Mexican Army which would be returned to the United States;
- A certain number of planes which it was intended to leave here in the care of this Embassy and of the Military Attaché of the Embassy to be eventually turned over to the Mexican Government and Mexican Air Force for training purposes.
You will recall that this visit took place and, through the collaboration of the Ministry of National Defense, proved to be of considerable interest and a real success.
Towards the middle of December, when the principal number of these planes forming the demonstration unit returned to the United States, there were left here in the care of this Embassy and of its Military Attaché, as originally planned, the following planes:
- 3 B–25s
- 2 F–2s
- 6 AT–6s, and
- 3 C–47s.
A number of pilots of the United States Army Air Force remained here in order to continue the training of members of the Mexican Army Air Force in the flying of these planes. These pilots returned to the United States around December 20 of this year.
In view of the fact that these planes remain the property of the War Department and of the Army Air Force of the United States until the final arrangements for transfer, as planned to the Mexican Government and the Mexican Air Force, can take place, I deemed it desirable that, pending certain arrangements for the use of the planes by the Mexican Air Force, the planes should remain grounded so as to avoid any possibilities of claims growing out of unfortunate accidents which may always occur in connection with such training flights. I therefore, through Captain Telles, who remains in direct charge of the planes for this Embassy, made the suggestion to the head of the Mexican Air Force, General Salinas.
If the planes are not flown, they will have to go into temporary storage, which requires certain special arrangements for the conservation of the planes, and it seemed desirable therefore that, pending final delivery of the planes to the Mexican Government and Mexican Army Air Force, arrangements should be made for their continued use by the Mexican Air Force for training purposes. I therefore communicated with my Government34 and I have instructions from the Department of State35 and from the War Department36 to the following effect.
The planes above mentioned and which have been left here in the care of this Embassy, and which remain for the present the property [Page 1136] of the United States Government, may be considered on loan to the Mexican Government, pending transfer of the planes to that Government, and during such loan and until transfer is made the planes may be utilized by the Mexican Government and Air Force for training purposes.
My Government has expressed the desire that, if the Ministry of National Defense so desires and so expresses the desire, the insignia of the Mexican Air Force may be placed on the above-mentioned planes. It is in fact the hope of my Government that this will be done, as it believes, in view of the fact that the planes will be on loan to the Mexican Government and utilized by its Army Air Force for training purposes, that it is desirable that the planes carry the insignia of the Mexican Air Force, even though actual transfer of title has not taken place.
I have further instructions from my Government to the effect that under these circumstances I am to secure the agreement of the Mexican Government that, if during such use of the planes by the Mexican Air Force and before final transfer thereof is made to the Mexican Government any unfortunate accident should occur involving damage to life or to property, it will be understood that the Government of the United States, or any agency or officer thereof, will not be held responsible for any such damage to persons or property. I am also instructed to state on behalf of my Government that it will be understood, in the case of such agreement for the use of the planes, should any of the above-mentioned planes on temporary loan be damaged or destroyed, there will be no claim on the part of my Government for such damage or loss.
I also have to inform Your Excellency that a supply of spare parts has been sent by my Government which is in the charge of this Embassy, which spare parts are to be used for the maintenance and upkeep of these above-mentioned planes. These spare parts, now in the care of this Embassy, remain the property of my Government until the transfer of the planes is made to the Mexican Government when such spare parts will be delivered to the Mexican Government and Air Force. Nevertheless, in order to facilitate the operation of the planes for training purposes by the Mexican Air Force during the period of loan and pending transfer of the planes, the officer who is in charge of the planes for this Embassy will issue on the request of the Mexican Air Force, without cost, any such spare parts as may be needed for their maintenance and operation.
A certain amount of armament and ammunition which forms a part of the complete equipment of these above-mentioned planes is in the custody of this Embassy and will be turned over to the Mexican Government and Air Force when the transfer of the planes to the Mexican Government is effected.[Page 1137]
Under instructions of the War Department and Army Air Force of my Government, Captain Paul [Raymond L.] Telles has been designated as the official supply officer in connection with these planes and is attached to the Military Attaché of this Embassy for administrative purposes.
I would appreciate very much Your Excellency advising me if the Mexican Government is in accord with the above, in which case, immediately after the receipt of Your Excellency’s affirmative reply, the utilization of the planes by the Mexican Government and Mexican Air Force may continue for training purposes.37
Please accept [etc.]
- Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Mexico in his despatch 27,794, December 26, 1945.↩
- Telephone conversations.↩
- Airgram A–2061, supra. ↩
- Telegram addressed to the Military Attaché, December 24, not printed; substance given in despatch 27,794, December 26, from Mexico, not printed.↩
- The Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs approved the terms of the Ambassador’s note in reply note No. 50,424, January 11, 1946, not printed; copy of translation enclosed in despatch No. 27,949, January 14, from Mexico, not printed.↩