Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Webb) and the Acting Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (Ryan) to the President


Subject: Mexican Aviation Negotiations

Reference is made to the memorandum of November 4, 19491 signed jointly by Under Secretary of State Webb and Joseph O’Connell, Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, a copy of which is attached for convenient reference. The memorandum which received your approval outlined the history of our unsuccessful negotiations with the Mexican Government regarding an air transport agreement to implement the provisions of the Latin American Route Decision and proposed [Page 958] that an attempt be made to obtain permission for Eastern Airlines to operate the route New York–New Orleans–Mexico City, in return for reciprocal rights for a Mexican carrier on that route and for commercial rights at Miami for Aerovias Guest, S. A. Aerovías Guest, a Mexican corporation with 49% ownership by American citizens, operates from Mexico City to Madrid.

More than six months have elapsed since this proposal was made to the Mexican Government and an informal refusal to negotiate on this basis has now been received from the appropriate Mexican officials. Mexico has proposed that permission be granted immediately to Guest after which negotiations will be resumed in an endeavor to reach agreement on the remaining problems.2

Since there is no reason to anticipate that Mexico will change its position, it must be assumed that the proposal, after a reasonable trial has failed. The Guest airline claims serious financial difficulties will force it into bankruptcy unless the permission to operate at Miami is granted. Such a development would impede rather than contribute to a constructive solution of our civil aviation problems with Mexico, and would probably lessen to a greater extent Eastern’s chances of obtaining the necessary permission to operate.

It is our opinion that if the Guest application is granted a better atmosphere will prevail for the eventual solution of outstanding civil aviation matters between the two governments. It is our further belief that continuance of the present policy of not granting the Guest application until Eastern is given permission to operate will further prejudice civil aviation relations between the two countries.

We therefore request your approval of a course of action in which the Guest application for commercial rights at Miami may be granted [Page 959] before further discussions are undertaken with the Mexican authorities in an endeavor to obtain rights for Eastern Airlines into Mexico City as well as to implement further the provisions of the Latin American route decision.3

  • James E. Webb
  • Oswald Ryan
  1. Not printed.
  2. An unsigned memorandum of a conversation held in Mexico City on July 7, 1950, between Acting Foreign Minister Manuel Tello, Mr. Miller, and other officials, reads in part:

    “Mr. Miller referred to a conversation which he had recently had with Ambassador de la Colina in Washington; the Ambassador suggested, on instructions from his government, that the Guest application for permission to take on and discharge passengers in Miami be granted and said that the Mexican Government would then be willing to discuss with the United States the possible negotiation of a bilateral aviation agreement. Mr. Miller said that he had become convinced that the Guest application should not be related to United States desiderata and that Mr. Mann would return to Washington and immediately explore the possibility of reaching agreement with the other interested agencies for the prompt granting of the Guest application. Mr. Miller then said that it would be helpful if he could be informed of the intentions of the Mexican Government with respect to United States carriers desiring to enter Mexico. Sr. Tello said that he was not in a position to go beyond the statements made by the Ambassador but that he would discuss the matter with the appropriate officials and inform Mr. Miller as soon as possible. Mr. Miller made it clear that his views concerning the Guest application would not be conditioned by the reply he received from Sr. Tello.” (enclosure to despatch 96 from Mexico City, July 12, 1950, 611.12/7–1250)

    Additional documentation on proposals that may have been made in the matter by Ambassador de la Colina or Minister Tello has not been found in Department of State files.

  3. A handwritten marginal note reads: “Suggestion approved Aug. 4, 1950. Harry S Truman.” The Aerovias Guest permit was issued August 25.