40. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Czech Interest in Air Service to U.S.
- Mr. Martin Murin, Czech Director of Civil Aviation Administration
- Mr. Prauel Vransky, Deputy Chief, Transport and International Air Relations, Civil Aviation Administration
- Dr. Jiri Majsajdr, Third Secretary, Czech Embassy
- Mr. Allen R. Ferguson, OA
- Miss H. Alberta Colclaser, OA/AP
- Mr. Michael H. Styles, OA/AN
- Mr. Herbert Kaiser, EE
- Mr. George Wharton, CAB
The meeting was requested by Messrs. Murin and Vransky who had accepted an invitation to visit the U.S. in connection with the 20th anniversary of ICAO.
Mr. Murin opened the discussion by recalling the recent talks between CSA and PAA which had led to an interline agreement between them. He said he wished to explore three subjects further, as follows:
CSA charter flights to U.S.
Mr. Murin said that CSA was considering operating a few irregular flights to the U.S. next summer in connection with the Czech athletic [Page 157] games held every five years in Prague (from July 1 to 4, 1965). Approximately ten flights might be involved, and they would all consist of plane-load charters, rather than split charters or individually-ticketed arrangements. Their purpose would be to attract persons of Czech origin living in the U.S. who had an interest in seeing the games.
In response to questions, Mr. Murin and Mr. Majsajdr said that Czechoslovakia had liberalized tourist controls greatly in the past year and they described several of the measures taken. There were not as many Czechs who had an interest in visits to the U.S.; most of these were relatives of persons living in the U.S.
There was some discussion of charter concepts. Mr. Wharton said that, as a member of IATA, CSA would be familiar with the rules. Mr. Murin indicated he understood these concepts.
Mr. Ferguson asked whether Czechoslovakia would allow a U.S. airline to do the same thing proposed by CSA. Mr. Murin replied that Czech civil aviation policy was based on reciprocity. He noted that Czechoslovakia was party to all the international agreements in the aviation field.
Mr. Murin asked whether he could characterize the discussion as indicating there were no major obstacles to the CSA proposal for charter flights. Mr. Ferguson responded in the affirmative.2
Scheduled service to U.S.
Mr. Murin said that Czechoslovakia wanted to “prepare conditions” for scheduled CSA service to the U.S. and he understood that PAA was interested in service to Prague. Although nothing had been decided, he wished to raise this matter now to determine what problems there might be. The purpose of such air services would be to foster relations between the two countries and encourage exchange visits. An air transport services agreement already existed. The two airlines had concluded an interline agreement and PAA had stationed a representative in Prague. This step-by-step approach might create conditions for profitable services.
Mr. Ferguson said he could not answer this question as fully as he could the first subject of non-scheduled service. He said that, although the two countries had an agreement on paper, the U.S. would want to reexamine it to determine whether it was still adequate. After that, the two countries could discuss the subject further.[Page 158]
Mr. Murin agreed that the agreement should be re-examined, but he noted that operations had taken place under it for a number of years and that Article 8 provided a ready means for amending the route annex.
After saying that the U.S. would wish to study the whole agreement, not merely the route annex, Mr. Ferguson said that the U.S. would communicate its views on this question to Mr. Majsajdr. Mr. Murin said he hoped negotiations could begin within the next year.3
Mr. Murin raised two other questions. He asked whether CSA could station one of its representatives in New York. After some discussion, it was concluded this was not an aviation matter as such, and that CSA could use the establishment of the CEDOK office in New York both as a precedent and as an example of how to establish a CSA office.
Mr. Murin also asked if the U.S. would approve the lease of jet aircraft to CSA. Mr. Wharton said that there are no general obstacles to the leasing of aircraft if certain conditions are filled, and that the U.S. lessor would be aware of these conditions. Mr. Ferguson noted that it was the responsibility of the U.S. lessor, not the foreign lessee, to obtain CAB approval. Therefore, CSA should look to the U.S. lessor to determine whether U.S. approval could be obtained.
Mr. Ferguson said that Czechoslovakia should be aware that the CAB has statutory responsibility for the regulation of the economic aspects of aviation, both domestic and foreign, but that the State Department take a prominent role with respect to foreign airlines because of the international relations aspects. The U.S. Government thus speaks with one voice on such matters.
Mr. Murin felt that this informal exchange was a good start toward “normalizing” aviation relations between the two countries.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, AV 9 CZECH–US. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Styles on December 21.↩
- In telegram 1110 to Prague, April 1, 1965, the Department of State reported that difficulties in arranging Czech charter flights had arisen because the aircraft CSA proposed to use were the property of Cuban Airlines and thus subject to seizure under Cuban Assets Control Regulations. (Ibid.)↩
- Pan American inaugurated New York-Prague service on July 17, 1965.↩