The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Thurston)

No. 8753

Sir: Conversations looking to the conclusion of a bilateral air transport agreement between the Uinted States and Mexico will be resumed in Mexico City beginning June 24. Conversations of this nature originally were undertaken with Mexican officials in Washington in October, 1945, at which time they dealt with two matters; the text of a basic agreement on principles along the line of those drafted at the Chicago Aviation Conference,29 and secondly, the allocation of international routes connecting the two countries. Agreement was not reached on the latter point because both countries wished rights over routes which the other would not grant.

The Civil Aeronautics Board has interpreted the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 to provide for a “regulated competition” among United States airlines in the international field, rather than monopolistic control by a single United States airline. All Executive Departments of this Government support this view. As you know, basic responsibility for the allocation of routes rests with the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the recent so-called Latin American decision of the Civil Aeronautics Board which authorized five United States airlines to operate into Mexico may be considered as a confirmation of this policy. For your information a copy of the Board’s press release of May 22, 1946, regarding this decision, is enclosed.30

As matters now stand in Mexico, Pan American Airways and the Compañía Mexicana de Aviación have an almost exclusive concession to international traffic between Mexico and the United States by their control of four of the five presently established Mexican gateways. The Compañía Mexicana de Aviación is not a legal subsidiary of Pan American Airways but the latter has a substantial, although perhaps not controlling, interest in the Mexican company. The only other carrier presently engaged in international air traffic with Mexico from this country is American Airlines which, until the recent decision, has [Page 993] been operating on this route out of the United States under a temporary permit.

The Department is mindful that the subject of new routes in Mexico will probably create controversy. With this in mind you are requested at an early date to seek an appointment with the President and say to him that this Government’s policy is to provide for regulated competition among United States airlines in the international field rather than monopolistic control by a single United States carrier. You should say further to him that it is believed that by this means the best service will be furnished both to Mexico and to the United States. You should express the hope that the Mexican Government will find it possible to reach an agreement as speedily as possible which will include the routes to be operated by the United States airlines in accordance with the recent decision of the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Very truly yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Spruille Braden
  1. For text of convention signed at the International Civil Aviation Conference, Chicago, November 1–December 7, 1944, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1591, or 61 Stat. (pt. 2) 1180. The Mexican instrument of ratification of the convention and the acceptance of the transit agreement (Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 487, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1701) was deposited with the Department of State on June 25, 1946.
  2. Not printed.