The Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (Nyrop) to the Acting Director of the Office of Transport and Communication Policy (Klemmer)

Dear Mr. Klemmer: During a conversation on June 6, 19521 with members of the staff of the Department of State, the Colombian Ambassador proposed that in view of the inability of the United States and Colombia to reach an accord on a new bilateral air transport agreement, an informal arrangement be effected for a period of about one year to test Avianca’s ability to compete successfully with U.S.-carrier competition. Upon inquiry, the Ambassador stated that his Government would reserve the right to restrict the frequencies operated by U.S. carriers.

It is not clear whether the Ambassador contemplated an exchange of notes or a verbal arrangement, but in either case the proposal is wholly [Page 781] unacceptable to the Board. To agree to a restriction on frequencies, even for a so-called test period, or to permit a U.S. carrier to accept an operating permit containing such restrictions would be tantamount to conceding the validity of Colombia’s arguments in behalf of predetermination of capacity, and would be so construed by the Colombians. Our position in any future agreement negotiations would be extremely difficult to maintain.

Another objection to the Colombian proposal is that it is quite unlikely that Colombia would be willing to authorize Braniff to serve Bogota, even on a temporary basis, without expecting some “reciprocal” benefit for Avianca. Since the Braniff route would be a new and additional route from the United States to Colombia, it is possible (and even probable) that Colombia would ask for an additional route for Avianca under the Kellogg–Olaya Pact.2

The United States has made extraordinary efforts during the past five years to meet the Colombian viewpoint on various proposals for a new bilateral air transport agreement to replace the out-moded Kellogg–Olaya Pact of 1929. Despite the fact that the concessions offered exceed those offered any other foreign government to date, we have been unable to satisfy Colombia’s desire for protection of its national carrier. The present proposal for an informal arrangement clearly reveals that the Colombian position has not changed, and it appears extremely unlikely that we will be able to conclude a satisfactory air agreement with the Colombians so long as they can rely on the broad grant of rights established in the Kellogg–Olaya Pact. The Board, therefore, recommends that appropriate steps be taken to denounce the Kellogg–Olaya Pact.

It is hoped that this drastic measure will impress upon the Colombians the seriousness with which we view their intransigence and that, within the ninety-day period between notice of denunciation and termination of the agreement, Colombia will offer acceptable proposals for a new air transport agreement.

Sincerely yours,

Donald W. Nyrop
  1. A memorandum of the referenced conversation, drafted by Mr. Bernbaum, dated June 6, I952, is in file 611.2194/6–652.
  2. Reference is to the exchange of notes signed at Washington by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and Colombian Minister to the United States Enrique Olaya, Feb. 23, 1929, and entered into force on the same date, concerning aircraft facilities for commercial aviation; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1929, vol. ii, pp. 882884.