Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee 61

top secret
SWNCC 38/30

Subject: Over-all Examination of Requirements for Transit Air Bases and Air Base Eights in Foreign Countries.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff request that the Secretary of State be informed as follows:

“In furtherance to the memorandum of 8 November 1945 from the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC 38/25), the Joint Chiefs of Staff have reviewed the requirements for military rights of air transit and technical stop at locations other than those enumerated … and have determined that such rights should be obtained at the locations listed in Appendix ‘A’.

“Requirements for air transit rights in Canada have not been included, since the Joint Chiefs of Staff assume that such rights, among others, will be obtained in extension of present United States-Canadian agreements, or under satisfactory substitutes therefor, and have initiated action leading to a determination of such requirements by the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States.

“With the exception of air transit rights in Mexico and Central America necessary to provide air access to the Panama Canal, requirements for air transit rights in Latin America have been excluded also, as the Joint Chiefs of Staff assume that such rights will be obtained in implementation of the treaty expected to be concluded as a result of the declarations in the Act of Chapultepec. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have under study the determination of the military views on this matter.

“The airfields listed in Appendix ‘A’ are those which it is expected will be operated by commercial or foreign military interests. In the event that during negotiations it appears that any airfield specifically listed by name is to become non-operational and that some other airfield [Page 1143] in the vicinity is to be operated by commercial and/or foreign military agencies, it is requested that negotiations for that specific airfield be suspended and the Joint Chiefs of Staff be so advised in order that United States military requirements in the area may be further examined.

“Military air transit rights for the United States along the North Africa-India route, as indicated on the maps in Appendix ‘B’,62 are considered highly desirable because of strategic considerations. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognize that in the deliberations of the Security Council of the United Nations it is possible that the United States, along with other powers, may obtain all the air transit rights along this route which may be necessary; on the other hand, it may develop that the arrangements agreed to by the United Nations will not satisfy United States requirements. The Joint Chiefs of Staff therefore consider that so long as the strategic importance to the United States of air transit rights along this route is fully appreciated, the procedure and timing of negotiations to secure these rights whether multilaterally through the United Nations Organization or bilaterally with each nation concerned, is a matter for determination by the Department of State.

“Rights of air transit and technical stop, as used herein, are defined in Appendix ‘C’.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
A. J. McFarland

Brigadier General, U.S.A., Secretary
[Page 1144]

Appendix “A”

Annex “A” to Appendix “A”

Locations at Which Military Air Transit Rights Are Desired
Location Sovereignty U.S. Expenditures British Expenditures (Reciprocal Aid Remarks
Algiers, Algeria (Maison Blanche Airport) France $1,576,367 $16,894 { The French Government is of the opinion that present rights, effected by local agreement for the prosecution of the war, have expired. Additional expenditures not listed are: French—$3,564,515 and British—$4,333,084.
Tripoli, Libya (Wheelus Field) Italy 8,187,236 None { Present agreement implies rights to continue for duration of the war.
Cairo, Egypt (Payne Field) United Kingdom 3,181,523 109,292 { Present agreement states that all operational use will have to come up for review on cessation of hostilities.
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (Dhahran Airport) Saudi Arabia 4,000,000 (Est.) None { Present agreement provides for U.S. use for a period not exceeding three years following cessation of hostilities.
Karachi, India (Karachi Airport) United Kingdom None 4,046,679 So far as is known, all rights of use and occupation of airfields in India by the United States are limited to the duration of the war, with U.S. requirements being met wherever possible by the Government of India on the basis of reverse lend lease.
Agra, India (Agra Airport) United Kingdom 442,800 3,180,840
Kharagpur, India (Dudhkundi Airport) United Kingdom 1,055,974 2,494,964
Rangoon, Burma (Mingaladon Airport) United Kingdom None No existing formal agreement.
Bangkok, Thailand (Don Muang Airdrome) Thailand None No existing formal agreement.
Saigon, French Indo-China (Tan Son Nhut Airport) France None No existing formal agreement.
Vera Cruz, Mexico (Las Bajadas Airport) (Vera Cruz Harbor)* Mexico 1,989,720(A.D.P.)** { In general military air transit rights in Mexico expire whenever either government decides no further threat exists to security of either country.
Tehuantepec, Mexico (Tehuantepec Airport) Mexico 3,440,729(A.D.P.)**
Merida, Mexico (Merida Airport) Mexico 3,136,452(A.D.P.)**
Acapulco, Mexico (Acapulco Harbor)* Mexico None The U.S. exercises no current base or air transit rights.
Mazatlan, Mexico (Mazatlan Harbor)* Mexico None The U.S. exercises no current base or air transit rights.
Managua, Nicaragua (Las Mercedes Airport) Nicaragua 1,094,784(A.D.P.)** { Present agreement expires not later than six months after the peace treaty is signed.
San Jose, Guatemala (San Jose Airport) Guatemala 985,766(A.D.P.)** Present agreement expires with the signing of the peace treaty.
Cayenne, French Guiana (Rochambeau Field) France 3,245,371 { Present agreement provides for U.S. use to continue for one year after cessation of hostilities.
Nuku Hiva Island (Comptroller and Anaho Bays)** (In Marquesas Group) France None { The U.S. exercises no current base or air transit rights.
Aitutaki Island (Tauta Seaplane Base)* (In Cook Islands) New Zealand 50,000 { Present agreement gives the United States military air transit privileges for the duration of the war.
[Page [Appendix B]]

[Appendix “B”]

Military Air Transit Requirements (Eastern Hemisphere)
[Page []] [Page []] [Page []]
Military Air Transit Requirements (Western Hemisphere – Pacific)
Revised, 21 January 1946
[Page 1145]

Appendix “C”

Rights of Military Air Transit and Technical Stop

The right of military air transit and technical stop is the long-term right to operate military aircraft into, over and away from a designated territory, and to land at one or more specific airfields or seaplane landing areas therein to refuel, effect repairs, or avoid unfavorable weather conditions, without restriction except as mutually agreed between the United States and the nation exercising sovereignty, mandate or trusteeship.
In the exercise of the above right, the United States to have the following attendant rights:
To install, maintain, and operate such aids to navigation, communications, and weather reporting facilities as may be required, subject to mutual agreement.
To operate seaplane tenders, as required in the exercise of the rights accorded, in territorial waters in the vicinity of specified seaplane landing areas, such operations to include use of anchorage facilities in those waters by such vessels, without restriction except as mutually agreed.
To import, station, store in, or remove from a designated airfield the minimum personnel, supplies, and materiel necessary for transit operations, free of customs, duties, taxes, and imposts of any kind.
Exemption of United States official personnel, aircraft, supplies and equipment in transit, from customs, duties, taxes, imposts, and inspections other than those required for quarantine or similar purposes.
To contract with persons, companies, or government agencies for services and supplies locally required.
  1. Approved by the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee by informal action on February 14.
  2. Facing p. 1144.
  3. Landing and anchorage for seaplanes.
  4. Airport Development Program.
  5. Airport Development Program.
  6. Airport Development Program.
  7. Landing and anchorage for seaplanes.
  8. Landing and anchorage for seaplanes.
  9. Airport Development Program.
  10. Airport Development Program.
  11. Airport Development Program.
  12. Landing and anchorage for seaplanes.