860F.796/8–3149: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Egypt


866. Recent indications are that CSA (ref Depcirinstr Jan 5)1 increasing pressure resume services to ME currently halted by Itals [Page 213] and Greeks who have refused permit Czech flights this area.2 Czechs recently approached Syrians for landing rights and are increasing pressure on Greeks to permit Czech aircraft make single round trip flight to Lydda purpose allegedly survey Czech air routes to ME.

For your confidential info only, Dept not certain how long complete Greek ban on Czech operations will remain in effect. Considered possible that since conditions existing at time Egyptians revoked CSA rights Cairo have now changed, Czechs might request Egyptians for route terminating or possibly through Cairo. Since Egypt party to Internatl Air Services Transit Agreement, it might prove difficult deny CSA technical stop Egypt on route to ME or African points. As long as Czechs possess landing rights in any Eastern Mediterranean state, Greeks and Turks, who are parties to Transit Agreement, subject to pressure by Czechs for transit privileges.

Pls consult Brit Emb re this matter and, providing you concur, suggests you undertake representations either separately or jointly with Brit, whichever you feel most effective, expressing hope that Egypt will continue refuse permit to CSA, and will deny Czech request, if presented, for transit rights on routes to African or Arab points. Emb will appreciate delicacy latter point view fact only landing rights in ME 3 now held by CSA are for Lydda, and Dept wld not wish encourage Egypt generally apply principle refusing transit rights to internatl carriers serving Lydda, as such wld hinder TWA operation to Lydda through Cairo. Emb shld bear in mind, in conversations with Brit and Egyptians, UK operation to Lydda need not go through either Greece or Egypt, as Cyprus available to UK.4

  1. See editorial note, p. 184.
  2. Throughout this period Czechoslovakia continued to seek the revocation of the May order of the Greek Government prohibiting landings in and transit over Greece by Czechoslovak aircraft. In late July Italy rejected a Czechoslovak proposal that the current Czechoslovak airline service from Praha to Home be extended to Cyprus and Israel.
  3. Airgram A-512, September 14, to Cairo, not printed, stated that the phrase “only landing rights in ME” should have read “only landing rights in Near East”. It was observed that the Czechoslovak airlines (CSA) continued to possess landing rights in Turkey under the Turkish-Czechoslovak air transport agreement (860F.796/9–1449).
  4. Telegram 581, September 12, from Cairo, not printed, reported that Chargé Patterson had broached the civil aviation matter with Egyptian Under Secretary of State Hassouna Pasha on September 8. Hassouna Pasha indicated that Egypt had and would continue to refuse Czechoslovak requests for air rights in Egypt. The Egyptian attitude appeared to be based not on antipathy to communism as much as to hostility to Czechoslovakia for having furnished military supplies to Israel (860F.796/9–1249).