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

No. 1374

Sir: You will recall the conversation you held with officers of the Department, at the time of your recent sojourn in the United States, concerning a program to be pursued in order to accomplish the proposed bilateral air transport agreement between the United States and Mexico.

In accordance with the understanding expressed at that time, the Department has obtained from the President a letter to President Alemán, expressing President Truman’s personal interest in this matter. This letter, and copies thereof, are enclosed herewith. It is requested that you personally deliver this letter to President Alemán on behalf of the President at the earliest time convenient to yourself and to President Alemán.

It is suggested that at the time of your visit with President Alemán, you orally reiterate the desire of the United States to reopen negotiations at the earliest possible date if it appears probable that a satisfactory agreement will follow. It is believed that there is a great advantage to be obtained from holding these negotiations in Mexico City: the presence of President Alemán at the place of negotiations makes available the procedure of personal intercession by you to him in case the negotiations should arrive at a seemingly insurmountable impasse, and he could then personally instruct his representatives to proceed with the matter. On the other hand, it is true that if negotiations were held in Washington, the Mexican representatives would be free, at least to a certain extent, from the pressure which would otherwise be exerted by certain special interests. It is true that it is the turn of the United States to act as host in this matter; but it is also true that if negotiations are held in Mexico, travel expenses will be borne by the United States. The Department believes that greater advantage will be obtained if the discussions can be held in Mexico City, but in view of all the circumstances, considers it desirable that you do not eliminate the possibility of the negotiations being held in Washington, if the Mexicans insist.

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Assuming that conversations will be held in Mexico, it is suggested that negotiations be conducted, on the part of the United States, by the Embassy’s staff. It is felt that you may not wish to take part in all of these conversations, so that you may be more free to intercede with President Alemán should circumstances so require. It is assumed that Messrs. Bohan and Sharp19 would actively conduct the conversations, and, as was discussed in Washington, the Department will make available to you the services of a departmental official familiar with these problems as a technical adviser.

In view of this suggested organization of the American delegation, it is proposed that you might orally suggest to President Alemán that the United States believes that success can best be obtained by conversations strictly between governmental officials whose positions would let them represent the technical thinking of the governments concerned, rather than by delegations composed of people outside of government who, consciously or not, might not approach this proposal from the governmental point of view which is the spirit of Mr. Truman’s letter.

[Here follow details on arrangements for negotiations.]

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Garrison Norton

President Truman to the President of Mexico ( Alemán )

My Dear Mr. President and Friend: While I was your guest,20 and a guest of the great Mexican nation whose leader you are, and when my fellow countrymen and I had the pleasure of your visit to the United States,21 we had full opportunity to appreciate the importance of an informal and direct relationship between heads of state in the satisfactory accommodation of important problems of mutual interest. In the spirit of our recent conversations, I therefore take this occasion to discuss one of these problems.

I am sure you share my belief that the fullest possible development of international air routes between the two countries would be of the greatest benefit to the economies of Mexico and the United States. [Page 755] For this reason I should like to invite your attention to the matter of an air transport agreement between the Governments of Mexico and the United States which I believe will, when completed, make possible the achievement of such mutual benefits. When I visited Mexico, I proceeded by air in a few hours on a journey that once took months, and later took weeks and days. It was possible for you to use this same modern means of transport on your visit to the United States. We are truly living in an air age.

As you know, several meetings have been held during the past two years between representatives of Mexico and the United States for the purpose of negotiating a mutually satisfactory air transport agreement.22 To date these negotiations have resulted in only partial accord, the principal matters on which disagreement existed being predetermined division of airline capacity and the precise routes to be, flown by carriers of both countries.

In connection with the first point, it is my firm belief that air transportation can achieve the ends we both desire only if it is allowed to develop unhampered by artificial restrictions. As in the case of several agreements to which the United States is a party, the representatives of the United States are prepared to incorporate in the proposed agreement with your government provisions which guarantee fair and reasonable competitive practices over the routes to be agreed upon. I also feel confident that our negotiators can reach agreement concerning the routes to be flown by airlines designated by Mexico and the United States.

I hope in the near future to see a steadily increasing amount of safe and efficient air transportation available between Mexico and the United States offered alike by airlines which are truly Mexican in character, by those representing United States interests, and by others in whose operations citizens of both nations participate. With these facts in mind may I suggest that you personally review this matter of mutual concern to the two countries to the end that negotiations may be resumed in the near future with every hope of reaching an early accord.

I shall always treasure the recollections of my Mexico trip and the pleasant associations with you and your country. I hope that I shall have the pleasure of welcoming you again to the United States and that I may in the hot too distant future again visit your great country.

With assurances of my warm friendship and highest esteem, I am, my dear Mr. President,

Very sincerely yours,

Harry S. Truman
  1. Frederick D. Sharp, 3d, Third Secretary of Embassy and Vice Consul.
  2. For an address by President Truman at Mexico City, March 3, 1947, on United States relations with Mexico and the other American Republics, see Department of State Bulletin, March 17, 1947, p. 498.
  3. For an address by President Alemán before a Joint Session of Congress, May 1, 1947, see Congressional Record, vol. 93, pt. 4, p. 4508.
  4. For documentation on the last meeting, in the summer of 1946, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. xi, pp. 993 ff.