711.9327/12–1947: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Stuart)

1535. Re Chinese request consultation to amend bilateral air transport agreement.

Question US carriage Hong Kong–Shanghai fifth freedom6 traffic should not be decided on basis technicalities such as legal status Kaitak. British granted US right to service Hong Kong for which Kaitak is airport. If Chinese feel such grant was improperly made they should pursue matter with Brit Govt. Although Chinese text [Page 1426] may be interpreted variously Dept believes intention US negotiators and meaning English text note accepted by Chinese clearly allow fifth freedom traffic.

Dept believes basis US argument should be that agreement clearly grants US fifth freedom rights and that Chinese accepted US note designation (see Deptel 348, Mar 24, Urtel 982, May 77). US right to service Hong Kong also granted by Brit in Bermuda agreement.8 If Chinese have reason object its exercise, objections must be based on Bermuda principles agreement. Thus Chinese have right question only amount such traffic in event undue capacity provided.

US will not give up right carry such traffic. If Chinese desire preclude US this right were successful, it might result immediate similar demands by other countries. As Emb knows, right to fifth freedom traffic is essential US world routes.

For Emb consideration, Dept suggests Lin be advised as follows: US has learned of Chinese desire operate Okinawa on regional service as well as on route US, that US sympathetic this desire but facilities Naha already taxed. US hopeful situation can be worked out so as permit CNAC9 operation Naha but it may involve some delay. For your info, CAB10 being requested delay proceedings CNAC application for amendment permit to permit Naha stop pending resolution Hong Kong question.

For Emb info cable has gone to SCAP11 which Dept hopes will result favorable decision re CNAC request use Tokyo although discretion is SCAP’s this matter within confines proposed policy civil aviation Japan.

Should suitable informal opportunity be presented Jarvis might inquire of Lin reasoning behind his linking results Geneva conference with Chinese desire re Hong Kong–Shanghai traffic.

Sent Nanking 1535; rpt Shanghai 2161.

  1. Five “freedoms of the air in respect of scheduled international air services” were reciprocally granted; the fifth was as follows: “The privilege to take on passengers, mail, and cargo destined for the territory of any other contracting State and the privilege to put down passengers, mail and cargo coming from any such territory.” It was provided that “the undertaking of each contracting State 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.” (See Department of State Conference Series No. 64, International Civil Aviation Conference, Chicago, Illinois, November 1 to December 7, 1944, Final Act and Related Documents, Appendix IV, p. 91.)
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Signed February 11, 1946; Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1507, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1499.
  4. China National Aviation Corporation.
  5. Civil Aeronautics Board.
  6. Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, Japan (Gen. Douglas MacArthur).