Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1



  • Mexican Air Negotiations
  • Participants: The President
  • The Secretary of State
  • Mr. David Stowe, Administrative Assistant to the President
  • Mr. George P. Baker, Consultant, Department of State
  • Mr. Donald W. Nyrop, Chairman, Civil Aeronautics Board
  • Mr. J. Paul Barringer, Director, Office of Transport and Communication Policy, Department of State

In accordance with the President’s request of September 252 I arrived at the White House at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, October 12.

Chairman Nyrop laid before the President a map graphically depicting the recommendations of the Civil Aeronautics Board for a pattern of air routes to be operated by United States and Mexican air carriers under the proposed agreement. The position presented was identical [Page 1337] with that outlined in paragraph A2 of the briefing memorandum from E dated October 11.3 Before Mr. Nyrop had completed his presentation, Mr. Stowe questioned him and the Department’s representatives on the economic justification for two United States and one Mexican route between New York and Mexico City, two via New Orleans and one via Dallas, particularly in light of anticipated competition on this segment by European and United Kingdom carriers operated as extensions of their routes across the North Atlantic.

After completion of the presentation, discussions centered upon the essentiality of obtaining equal competitive non-stop rights between Los Angeles and Mexico City. It was the President’s expressed desire that equal competitive opportunity on this route be a primary condition to any agreement. There followed discussion of the difficulties with other countries that would result from the grant to Mexico of exclusive rights between Mexico City and Miami and between Mexico City and New Orleans. Comparable concessions have consistently been denied to several other Latin American countries with whom the United States is currently negotiating commercial air agreements. It was pointed out that it might be possible for the United States to grant a monopoly route between Mexico City and Miami but that the additional grant of a similar monopoly route to New Orleans would have an extremely adverse effect on our relations in this field with these countries as well as establishing an undesirable precedent for requests from other countries throughout the world.

I suggested that no decision be reached on these concessions until we are able to ascertain from the Mexican Government the exact nature of their demands in the negotiations. The President agreed that this particular question should be reviewed after an initial exploratory conversation with Mexican officials. It was further agreed that only President Aleman would be able to supply the necessary definitive information as to the exact nature of the Mexican requests.

I then suggested to the President that we should address ourselves to the best way in which an initial approach could be made to President Aleman and recommended that Mr. Baker and Mr. Stowe talk to President Aleman as soon as a meeting could be arranged. Mr. Baker outlined in some detail the procedure in which similar negotiations had been carried on in the past indicating that they usually extended over a period of several weeks, if not months, with careful consideration by all agencies concerned of offers and counter offers. He did not think it entirely desirable to make any determinations that would involve deviation from past United States principles followed in air route [Page 1338] negotiations unless they were hammered out in arm’s length bargaining and subjected to full consideration and debate.

It was agreed that the Department would undertake to ascertain if a meeting could be arranged with President Aleman prior to Wednesday evening, October 15, at which time Mr. Stowe would be required to accompany the President on a trip.4

Discussion of this phase of the problem was concluded. I remained with the President to take up other matters.

  1. Drafted by Mr. Barringer with the assistance of Francis E. Meloy, Jr., Assistant to the Director of the Executive Secretariat.
  2. On Sept. 25 Secretary Acheson had met with the President to report on recent developments regarding the aviation question. At that time they agreed to meet again on Oct. 12. (Memorandum of conversation, by the Secretary of State, dated Sept. 25, 1952, 611.1294/9–2552)
  3. Not found in Department of State files.
  4. The Embassy in Mexico City was unable to arrange a meeting before Oct. 15 because President Alemán planned to depart Mexico City on that day. Consequently, Stowe requested State Department officials to try to set up a meeting with President Alemán after Nov. 4. (Memorandum by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Linder to the Secretary of State, 611.1294/10–1652)