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39. Circular Airgram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France/1/

Washington, March 3, 1961, 10:16 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.6194/3-361. Confidential. Drafted by Stoffel (TRC/AV) on March 2 and cleared by TRC, SOV, RA, and EE. Also sent to the NATO capitals and Moscow, Prague, and Stockholm.

G-768. Following is guidance requested Topol Polto 1059 (also Topol G-1306)/2/ concerning approach by Hooper on clarifying US position civil aviation relations with Sovbloc. Department regrets delay in reply which resulted from fluid situation concerning negotiations and other aspects Sovbloc air activities.

/2/Polto 1059, February 3, reported that Acting NATO Secretary-General Hooper had asked for clarification of the U.S. position on civil aviation relations with the Soviet Union. (Ibid., 611.6194/2-361) Polto (also incorrectly cited as Topol) G-1306, February 24, reported that the British representative had given an account of Czech and Cuban efforts to obtain landing rights in the United Kingdom. (Ibid., 941.7249/2-2461)

Department appreciates problem of apparent discrepancy in having US suggest to USSR commencement bilateral air transport negotiations and US attitude in POLAD on Sovbloc operations into Middle East and Cuba. Your reply to the effect that key factor was that of areas which Communists seeking penetrate is quite right. Sovbloc air service penetration of Near East is accomplished fact and US would seek keep extension of penetration to manageable proportions and in framework orderly development international civil aviation. In particular problem of keeping ICAO members like Poland and Czechoslovakia out of such areas realized. Czecho now flies to the Far East by way of Near East, South, and Southeast Asia. Likewise Czecho flies deep into Africa.

As to Latin America, the United States wants make serious effort keep all Sovbloc airlines out of area. In particular we can not tolerate their using United States Air Force Bases abroad or civil airports in the United States for purpose carrying out these operations. It is quite clear basic purpose such operations is political and not commercial and therefore not consistent with Chicago Convention/3/ which specifically prohibits misuse civil aviation for other purposes. Would be inconceivable think of Czechoslovak airline having flown to Cuba under any regime before Castro. Such service just would not make economic sense.

/3/For text of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, December 7, 1944, see 61 Stat. 1180.

As far as Soviet service Iceland is concerned, except for the presence of US defense forces at Keflavik, situation would be similar other Western European countries to which Sovbloc airlines now fly. However, the military operations at Keflavik do provide additional element. The US would hope, for that reason, and in view common NATO interest those military operations, that any rights given by Iceland would eliminate the possibility of 1. having Soviet personnel stationed at Keflavik, 2. having direct rapid electrical communication between Keflavik and Moscow. In addition, if either traffic or transit rights are granted in Iceland, for general political reasons, the US would also hope that rights would terminate at Keflavik or, if they went beyond, would not be granted until terminal rights had been granted by other non-sensitive countries and that such rights be carefully restricted only to specified terminal points. This for purpose preventing Soviet long-range aircraft flying from Keflavik to Latin America.

US desires conclude satisfactory air transport agreement with USSR because it feels that, in view of services between Moscow and most European capitals, it is logical for Moscow have such connections with New York. We realize dangers and problems involved and are making every effort avoid such dangers and minimize problems./4/

/4/At this point in the source text the following sentence was deleted before transmission: "The draft agreement which US is putting together will be a tough one which Soviet Union will have difficulty accepting."

It is not intention of the United States to in any way urge any country which must provide overflight rights or intermediate landing rights for Aeroflot in connection with an eventual US/USSR agreement to do so only in framework of the common policy i.e. to exact from the USSR adequate reciprocal rights.

Your statement contained Topol 1059 that US would not let Soviet airline fly Moscow-New York-Havana is completely correct. US will make sure there is no possibility of rights beyond New York and for that reason will not request rights beyond Moscow. Also, intermediate points will be carefully spelled out so that sensitive points like Havana could not be used as an intermediate point.

Dept agrees with other points raised by you as needing clarification for example your point number 1. that air transport agreement should be drafted so as permit consultation with NATO members before establishing air routes which will in effect call for intermediate stops whether traffic or non-traffic in territory other members or fanning out "points beyond" rights to areas which now are or in the future might be sensitive is an excellent one. As matter of fact we interpret 1958 common policy as requiring such consultation and were therefore disturbed to see the United Kingdom had revised its agreement with USSR so as make intermediate points unlimited, without consultations with the US or other NATO members. It is true that airlines of member countries may wish seek maximum air services. However in any agreement with USSR, Aeroflot is bound get at least equal rights in a market which can not possibly be of more than limited value for some time to come. For that reason political aspects appear over-riding. We are also aware that a number of countries are not really interested in reciprocal services and will not insist on operating them at the same time that the Soviets begin service. Presumably such soft attitude results from the desire to trade with bloc or other interest not particularly related to civil aviation.

Your second point, to effect that transit right problem complicated not only by Two Freedoms Agreement/5/ but by difficulty justifying refusal transit rights in light relations not only with communists but with other states, presumably refers to fact that state granting terminal right might be irked if it could not exercise its reciprocal rights if another member country denied essential transit rights. However US feels that countries granting such rights should take a hardheaded attitude towards Soviet Union and we have, for example, once again informed Sweden we would not any way expect that country grant overflight or technical transit or traffic rights to USSR for purpose flying to New York, without exacting from USSR adequate reciprocal benefit. We would take same attitude toward other countries as well.

/5/Presumably a reference to the International Air Services Transit Agreement, December 7, 1944 (59 Stat. 1693).

It is hoped that above will be some help. Actually you have done excellent job of carrying the ball this difficult subject and Department will attempt keep you continuously informed on developments so you may always be prepared interpret U.S. intentions.


FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P19

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