1937: The Inter‑American Technical Conference on Aviation planned for creating a Permanent American Aeronautical Commission


At the Pan-American Conference at Lima in 1937 (from 15 to 25 September), plans were made for creating a Permanent American Aeronautical Commission (Comisión Aeronáutica Permanente Americana, CAPA), but its organization never materialized. This Inter-American Technical Conference on Aviation (Primera Conferencia Técnica Interamericana de Aviación) was attended by 12 national delegations from within the hemisphere, with two observers from Europe; it was sponsored by the Pan-American Union.





Peru – 1937

Inter-American Technical Conference

on Aviation

The Permanent American Aeronautical Commission (Comisión Aeronáutica Permanente Americana, CAPA), created by resolution I of the Inter‑American Technical Conference on Aviation in Lima, took its origins and background from prior inter-American meetings.


In March 1916, the First Conference of Pan-American Aeronautics, held in Santiago of Chile, recommended to the American Republics that consideration be given to the necessity to unify their aerial legislation, so as to formulate an international air code.


In May 1923, the Fifth Pan-American Conference, also held in the capital of Chile, resolved that an Inter-American Commission on Commercial Aviation be established, which would be composed of not more than three delegates of each State Member of the Pan-American Union with the purpose of preparing a project of laws and regulations relative to the civil aviation.


The above-referred Commission met for the first time in Washington in May of 1927 and put under the consideration by its Directive Council a list of recommendations for a Convention, as well as some resolutions relative to the airplane navigation. This Council transmitted its conclusions to the Sixth Pan-American Conference, held in 1928 in Havana, Cuba; based on these conclusions, a Convention on Commercial Aviation was signed on 20 February 1928. It is to be noted that in 1943, this Convention had been ratified by eleven American Republics, however with reserves in some instances.


The Seventh Pan-American Conference, held in December 1933 in Montevideo, Uruguay, adopted a resolution to convene a commission of experts to study the means to accelerate inter-American aviation and some problems related to the air services. Further to that, the Pan-American Commercial Conference, held in 1935 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, recommended the convening of a technical aeronautical conference in the city of Lima from 15 to 25 September 1937 to unify air legislation. Twelve States were represented at this conference.


Attended by 12 national delegations from within the hemisphere and three observer states from Europe, the latter conference resolved to create and maintain a Permanent American Aeronautical Commission (C.A.P.A.), preferably composed of legal experts and technicians in aviation, designated by each government for periodic working sessions, with the aims of unifying and codifying the international, public and private, aeronautical rights, coordinating and developing mutual interests in technical matters, and organizing and marking the inter-American airways. In other words, the C.A.P.A. would be based on the model of both the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN) and Comité International Technique d'Experts Juridiques Aériens (C.I.T.E.J.A.) joined together.


Each participant nation in the C.A.P.A. would have a national commission. The Pan-Americana Union established a general secretariat of administrative order that would be in charge of facilitating the document interchange and correspondence between the National Commissions and the C.A.P.A.


Under its charter, C.A.P.A.’s authority to act only came into effect in 1942 and its existence was effectively terminated when ICAO came into existence in 1947.


List of major Pan-American Conferences that dealt with Aviation prior to 1944




Santiago de Chile

First Conference of Pan-American Aeronautics

9 March 1916

New York

First Pan-American Aeronautical Convention and Exhibition

8 to 15 February 1917

Atlantic City

Second Pan-American Aeronautical Convention and Exhibition

1 May to 1 June 1919

Atlantic City

Third Pan-American Aeronautical Convention

20 to 30 May 1920

Santiago de Chile

Fifth Pan-American Conference

25 March to 3 May 1923


Inter-American Commission on Commercial Aviation

2 to 19 May 1927


Sixth Pan-American Conference

16 January to 20 February 1928


Seventh Pan-American Conference

3 to 26 December 1933

Buenos Aires

Pan-American Commercial Conference

26 May to 19 June 1935


First Inter-American Technical Conference on Aviation

15 to 25 September 1937


Mounted sheet with the set of stamps, red round cancel and special red hand-stamp (dated 16 September 1937) related to the conference.


Cancelled LIMA 3 22-SEPT-37, this special envelope, printed for the Convention and franked with five different markings, was posted at the Postal and Philatelic Museum which affixed its pictorial cancellation in red (LIMA MUSEO POSTAL Y FILATELICO marking). A violet PERU-USA GOODWILL CRUISE USS RANGER marking can also be seen, along with the special hand-stamp of the Conference. Note that the United Kingdom also attended as observer state (not listed in the above).


Back of the above cover with special hand-stamp


The equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) is depicted on the cachet. Simón Bolívar was one of South America's greatest generals and his victories over the Spaniards won independence for Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.  He is called El Liberator (The Liberator) and the "George Washington of South America".

Red and white colours are taken from the Peruvian national flag.


Aviator Jorge (Géo) Chavez Maximum Card

Red and white colours of the Peruvian state flag


Numerous naval good will cruises to South and Central America took place in the 30's. The USS Ranger CV-4 —the first U. S. Navy ship built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier— was commissioned on 4 June 1934. Transiting the Panama Canal on 7 April 1935, the USS Ranger arrived in San Diego on the 15 April 1935. For nearly 4 years, it participated in the Pacific Ocean in fleet problems reaching Hawaii, and in western seaboard operations that took it as far south as Callao, Peru (15 km west of Lima). In mid-September, the destroyers USS Worden (DD-352) and the USS Hull (DD-350), escorted the USS Ranger arriving at Callao for a visit that coincided with the Inter-American Technical Aviation Conference at Lima. 


Covers commemorating the visit of the USS Ranger to Callao, Peru, indicate 16 to 23 September 1937, corresponding to the actual stay of at Callao. Furthermore, the USS Worden, that escorted the USS Ranger, stayed at Callao from 15 to 27 September 1937.


While the USS Ranger proceeded independently homeward upon conclusion of its visit, the destroyers paused at Balboa, Canal Zone, before returning to San Diego.


Lt. (later Admiral) Jesse G. Johnson made covers for many of good will cruises including some that he flew. When not flying with his Squadron VF-4 assigned to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ranger, which made a special mission to Callao, Peru, in September 1937, Naval Pilot Jesse G. Johnson, went ashore in Lima, Peru, as he was interested in the activities of the Technical International Aviation Conference.


Cover signed by Lt. Jesse G. Johnson


Original aircraft battle force U.S.S. Ranger 1st Day Launch Cover with original photo of the U.S.S. Ranger attached, postage date 23 September 1937. The envelope was addressed to “Lt. J.G. Johnson, USN / U.S.S. Ranger, / CALLO. PERU.”


The back of the above envelope reads on the left of the envelope fold “Jorge Chavez Monument Dedication”. The left side of the envelope reads: “PERU-U.S.A. Good Will Cruise Technical Aviation Conference Lima, Peru September 16-23 1937”, then has the Peruvian and American Flags crossed over an anchored eagle. The center postmark reads “U.S.S. Sep 23 A.M. 1937 RANGER CALLAO PERU”.



Well-known and prolific Cover Producer from the early 1930's to 1947, Walter Crosby perfected the use of raised print cachets incorporating a small photo (see lower left of the cover). According to ICAO records, the Conference ended on 25 September 1937, although these covers indicate 27 September.