Memorandum by Mr. John L. Ohmans of the Division of River Plate Affairs34

Summary of Aviation Developments in Argentina

Buenos Aires Report 270 of March 2035 gives the text of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Argentina article on FAMA’s36 organization, plans, and problems. The details in it are familiar to RPA, though news of some of the operating and personnel deficiencies it endures is illuminating. Crocker37 comments that “FAMA’s president38 recently stated that the airline is a political instrument and not a business proposition and the present situation of the airline reflects this status perfectly. The organization is crippled by differences on policies and the consequent restrictions imposed on the delegation of authority to certain capable subordinates, mostly foreign.… Its future success largely depends on the organization of an experienced and intelligent body of technicians and managers with the necessary authority to make their knowledge effective.”

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Ambassador Messersmith on March 14 commented on the negotiation of an aviation agreement with Argentina. He pointed out that he agreed with our pressure on the British to urge them to reopen the negotiations with Argentina. However, he is skeptical as to whether the British Government at this time will on its own initiative take up this matter with Argentina and felt that the British Embassy in Buenos Aires is not inclined to take up the matter with the Argentine Government. His conversations with Perón39 have made him feel confident that the Argentine Air Ministry and FAMA’s stand on the division of traffic cannot and will not be maintained. He said Perón expressed his dissatisfaction with the competence and understanding of some of the air officials. He intended to resume discussions on the matter with the President in several weeks. He also pointed out the difficulties Braniff International is experiencing in inaugurating its U.S.-Argentine services. He advised the Braniff representatives that their personal representations before the Argentines would not be helpful at this time.

Meanwhile, Emb Paris reports that the Argentine-French air negotiations have broken down and Ferreira, Director of Commercial Aviation returned to Buenos Aires. Also yesterday’s telegram from Buenos Aires reported Diaz Bialet was to be removed from his position as head of FAMA. AV has cabled Embassy London to urge the British to point out to Argentina that the Anglo-Argentine agreement is regarded as provisional. This chain of events therefore: FAMA’s operating difficulties, negotiation failures with the French, Diaz Bialet’s probable removal, and probable British renegotiations of their restrictive agreement leads one forcibly to the opinion that prospects for another U.S. attempt to reach an air agreement with Argentina are near at hand. In view of past statements from our Embassy in Buenos Aires, it is likely that negotiations, if they are held, will take place in Buenos Aires.

J. L. Ohmans
  1. Addressed to Mr. Eugene A. Gilmore, Jr., and Mr. Henry A. Hoyt of the Division of River Plate Affairs, and to Mr. Thomas C. Mann, Chief of that Division.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Flota Aérea Mereante Argentina, a mixed public-private air transport company.
  4. Carson O. Crocker, Civil Air Attaché.
  5. Diaz Bialet.
  6. Juan D. Perón, President of Argentina.