Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Office of Transport and Communications Policy (Barringer)


Negotiations With the Mexican Government for an Air Transport Agreement December 10 to December 19, 1951

Summary of the Activities of Mr. David Stowe and Ambassador O’Dwyer in Conjunction with the Negotiations

As a necessary supplement to the summaries of the various conferences between the United States Delegation and the Mexican Delegation which have been made the subject of summary reports, the following general account of the conversations held between Mr. Stowe and Ambassador O’Dwyer on one hand and President Aleman and the Foreign Minister on the other hand are recorded as they were summarized by Mr. Stowe and the Ambassador in later conversations with the US Delegation.

[Here follows a summary of the discussion Mr. Stowe and Ambassador O’Dwyer had with President Alemán on December 12.]

Following Conference IX held at 12 noon, December 18, Chairman Nyrop and Mr. Barringer felt that it would be desirable for Mr. Stowe to seek a second audience with President Aleman which Mr. Stowe was able to accomplish the following morning. During these conversations with President Aleman, he again repeated his appreciation of the major concessions made by the United States but placed new emphasis upon the importance to Mexican aviation of continuation of the exclusive rights enjoyed by CMA between Los Angeles and Mexico City. He repeated the arguments made by the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, Garcia Lopez, to the effect that protection of the Mexican carrier on this route was a matter of political essentiality to Mexico and an important consideration in the present and future of Mexican civil aviation. He stated he would be glad to have an American carrier operate from Los Angeles through El Paso to Mexico City or from Los Angeles through La Paz (with a required stop) to Mexico City but that he could not consider equal competitive opportunity on the nonstop operation between Los Angeles and Mexico City. Mr. Stowe explained to him that President Truman could not accept an arrangement of this sort as it not only violated principles to which the United States had unalterably adhered in its civil aviation relations with other countries but it was also politically impossible from the point of view of the domestic politics of the United States. In response to a suggestion by Mr. Stowe, President Aleman then stated that if the United States Delegation were to indicate to his Minister of Communications [Page 1512] that the United States would accept a route San Diego, La Paz, Mexico City (with non-stop rights) with the understanding that the governments would consult after a few years on the possibility of changing the point of departure from San Diego to Los Angeles, he would instruct his Minister to accept this proposal. As this was the only unresolved question between the Delegations, this suggestion, if accepted by the United States would result in the agreement that he and President Truman were so anxious to obtain.

Following this meeting with President Aleman, Mr. Stowe and Ambassador O’Dwyer urged the United States Delegation to make this proposal tentatively to Minister Garcia Lopez at the meeting held at 12:30 on December 19, emphasizing, of course, that approval of the United States Government would have to be obtained. Mr. Barringer suggested that this additional concession not be suggested even on an ad referendum basis unless it were coupled with withdrawal of the Mexico City-New Orleans exclusive concession previously made. This agreed tactic was followed as reported in the notes on Conference XII.

During Conference XII it became apparent that Minister Garcia Lopez had not received or was not acting on the instructions that President Aleman had given Foreign Minister Tello to pass on to Minister Lopez. When this was reported to Ambassador O’Dwyer and Mr. Stowe, the Ambassador attempted to get the Foreign Minister on the telephone and, failing to do so, waited on him at his office. During his conversation with the Foreign Minister, the latter entirely dissembled the conversation held earlier with President Aleman by indicating it was not his understanding that the President had made any suggestion involving a non-stop right for a US carrier from San Diego to Mexico City, that it was still the Mexican position that neither Los Angeles nor San Diego should be served by an American carrier on direct flights to Mexico City. It can only be assumed that President Aleman had made an offer which he regretted and was later persuaded to have his subordinates withdraw.

Following a further meeting between members of the Delegation, Mr. Stowe and the Ambassador, Mr. Stowe determined to obtain clearance for the additional concession from the White House and reported that President Truman would be willing to make the concession if the Civil Aeronautics Board concurred. Mr. Barringer undertook to obtain a clearance from the Department of State on the basis that he personally did not recommend the concession unless it were coupled with the withdrawal of the New Orleans concession. Chairman Nyrop then attempted to obtain clearance from the Civil Aeronautics Board. In view of the fact that the Civil Aeronautics Board did not concur, it was decided that Chairman Nyrop would call Minister Lopez at 7 o’clock as previously agreed and seek a final [Page 1513] audience with the Minister in order to terminate the negotiations. This final meeting is recorded as Conference XIII.1

  1. A copy of the record of Conference XIII, at which the United States and Mexican representatives agreed to suspend the negotiations, is attached to the source text, but it is not printed.