The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (Nyrop)
My Dear Mr. Nyrop: In view of the possibility of the negotiation of a successful air transport agreement between the United States and Mexico which is set forth in Mr. Rentzel’s letter of March 19, 1951,1 reporting to the President on his discussions with Mexican authorities in Mexico City, it is believed to be desirable to obtain as soon as possible a firm basis on which additional negotiations with the Mexican Government can be carried out. Were formal negotiations to be held with the Mexican authorities prior to the establishment of a United States position in this regard, the good that has been accomplished by recent discussions with the Mexicans could be lost and it [Page 1487] is possible that the conclusion of a satisfactory agreement would be made even more difficult than heretofore.
With this in mind the Department, in its letter of April 3, 19512 to Mr. Rentzel, pointed out that the Board might find it desirable to explore the implications of the possibility that the agreement which could be reached with Mexico would provide authorization for only a limited number of United States carriers currently holding permanent certificates for service between various points in the United States and Mexico under the Latin American Route Decision of 1946. Mr. Rentzel’s reply, dated April 16, 19512 enclosed a copy of his letter of March 19 to the President and a copy of the President’s reply2 giving general approval to the carrying through of additional negotiations with the Mexican Government, but did not give specific decisions by the Board concerning the routes that the Board considers indispensable in an agreement with Mexico.
Since the Board, pursuant to its responsibilities under the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, in the Latin American Route Decision of 1946 granted certificates to certain United States air carriers to serve specified routes into Mexico and since that decision was approved by the President, it does not appear proper for this Department, under its responsibility for the negotiation of international air transport agreements, to undertake negotiations which would have the effect of modifying the Latin American Route Decision. It is recognized that the formal amendment of the Latin American Route Decision of 1946, including the revision of the certificates awarded to the various United States air carriers affected by that decision, would require lengthy proceedings on the part of the Board. Since it is believed that the time consumed by such lengthy proceedings could result in an undesirable deterioration in the aviation relations between the United States and Mexico, it is suggested that the Board advise this Department in writing of the minimum route requirements that it would be prepared to accept as the basis for an agreement with Mexico, together with an evaluation of the relative importance of routes over and above the minimum requirements which this Government should attempt to obtain in the negotiations with Mexico.
In view of the President’s role in the approval of the decisions of the Board in connection with international air transportation, it is believed necessary to have the President’s approval on the carrying out of negotiations which would have the effect of modifying a decision which he has previously approved and that when the Board’s position is prepared it should be the subject of joint Department and Board discussions with the White House.[Page 1488]
Since it is recognized that the decision of the Board with respect to the allocation of the routes obtained to United States air carriers is a function which can be exercised by the Board after the conclusion of the agreement, information on the Board’s ideas relating to this portion of the modification of the Latin American Route Decision of 1946 is not believed to be essential at this time.
As soon as the Board can make available to the Department the information required for the negotiations with the Mexican Government, this Department will be able to take constructive action in this regard.
Director Office of Transport and Communications Policy
- Not printed. In the letter, Mr. Rentzel had stated in part his belief “that under no circumstances, will it be possible to execute or carry out the Latin American Decision of 1946 insofar as the certification of the three additional carriers to Mexico is concerned.” (911.5212/3–1951)↩
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