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Exchange Of Notes Constituting An Agreement Between The USA And India Relating To Flights Of Military Aircraft

US Ambassador To India Henry F. Grady in 1947 US Ambassador To India Henry F. Grady in 1947

[New Delhi, July 1, 1947]

The Honorable Member for External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations Government of India New Delhi


I have the honor to refer to discussions which have taken place during the past several months between officers of the Department of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, Government of India, and representatives of the Embassy of the United States of America in New Delhi, as well as to various communications which have been exchanged on the subject, with respect to flights across India by military aircraft of the United States of America and the facilities to be accorded such aircraft while within Indian territory. It is my Government's understanding that the Government of India agrees to the continuance of the United States Army Air Forces operations to and across India on a special mission basis, subject to the fallowing stipulations.  1. The Government of India has no objection to the temporary stationing of American ground crews at specified military airfields on special occasions for the purpose of servicing American military aircraft transiting India in group or unit, provided such crews depart as soon as their task is completed. The stationing of such personnel is expected not to exceed one to two weeks.

2. Facilities for these flights transiting India are to be available at Maripur (Karachi), Agra, Barrackpore and/or Kharagpur. The aircraft are to enter from the west at Maripur and from the east at Barrackpore or Kharagpur. Agra can be used for intermediate landings, and any airdrome can be used in an emergency.

3. Night stops are to be confined to one airfield to be designated. Palam airfield at New Delhi will have this designation until it is taken over by the civil authorities after which another suitable airport will be designated.

4. Forty-eight hours notice is to be given to Air Headquarters (India) of any projected arrivals. 

5. Facilities which are available to the Air Forces of India pertaining to servicing, accommodation, messing and transport are also to be available to American military aircraft, subject to conditions stated in this paragraph. The United States Army Air Forces are to provide all specialist equipment and specialist personnel required for the maintenance of their aircraft, whereas non-specialized equipment held by the Royal Air Force for servicing Royal Air Force aircraft is to be available to the United States Army Air Forces on loan where such loan does not conflict with Royal Air Force commitments. Refueling at Palam airfield is to be in accordance with the "Jupiter scheme" (under which refueling is done by a commercial petroleum company instead of by military personnel), and arrangements for refueling American military aircraft at Palam are to be made with the "Jupiter" refueling contractor. The Government of India does not propose to charge landing or housing fees with respect to American military aircraft, and all normal facilities relating to radio, meteorology and flying aids will be provided free of charge; but the United States Government agrees to pay for supplies of fuel, lubricants and spares received from the Government of India, as well as for any repairs to or maintenance of American military aircraft which might be performed by the Government of India. American air crews also will be charged for accommodation and messing. Accounts in the foregoing connection are to be rendered to the United States Military Air Attaché stationed in New Delhi, who will also be designated to work out other detailed arrangements. 

6. The regulations of the Government of India relating to customs health and passport examination which are applicable to the Royal Air Force aircraft and personnel will likewise be applied to American military aircraft and personnel. 

7. The facilities accorded to the United States Government under the present agreement are confined to United States military aircraft bearing appropriate service markings and manned by service crews in uniform and on duty. Permission for such aircraft to carry fare paying passengers is granted in cases where no American civil air service is available; such permission to be valid until October 24, 1947, at which time it will be subject to further consideration. 

8. The permission and arrangements as described above are to extend for a period of two years in the first instance, subject to six months' termination notice by either the Government of India or the Government of the United States of America.  I shall be glad to have you inform me whether it is the understanding of your Government that the terms of agreement governing the transit of India by American military aircraft are as set forth above. If so, it is suggested that July 5, 1947 become the effective date. If your Government concurs in this suggestion, the Government of the United States of America will regard the agreement as becoming effective at such time.  Accept, Sir, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.

HENRY F. GRADY ……………. To His Excellency the Ambassador of the United States of America New Delhi New Delhi 3, the 6th July 1947 No. D. 5005-FEA/47

YOUR EXCELLENCY,  I have the honour to acknowledge your note of July 1st, 1947, which reads as follows:   I am pleased to inform you that the Government of India accept the terms of the agreement as communicated in your note quoted above and agree with your suggestion that the agreement become effective on July 5, 1947. I have the honour to be, with the highest consideration. 

Your Excellency's obedient servant, JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, Member for External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations