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 three observer states from Europe (Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom); 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.


The CAPA shall be composed preferably 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.


The Eighth Pan-American Conference held in 1938 was the last regular meeting of the American states until after World War II. On three occasions, the foreign ministers convened to confront wartime issues; their work proved essential to the continuity of Pan-Americanism at a time when world-scale military agreements took precedence.


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


Eighth Pan-American Conference

9 to 27 December 1938


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 (front, see back hereafter), 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 related to the Conference.


Commemorative cover – Illustrated slogan (front, see back hereafter).


Back of the above cover with special violet hand-stamp and autograph of the Head of the Peru Philatelic Postal Museum. Only 2,000 of such envelopes were prepared.

The Postal and Philatelic Museum of Peru is one of the oldest museums of its kind existing in the Americas and was created by Supreme Resolution of 31 May 1931, under the name "Peru Philatelic Museum" as a dependency of National Post; its first chief was Don Victor Chávez Zamudio.


Special registered cover.


Commercial cover sent by airmail on 18 September 1937.


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 Chávez 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 30s. 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 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.


First Day Cover - USS Ranger VF-4 Clipper Cover Callao Peru Aviation Conference. The

French hand-written text Par Avion is interesting to note when this cover was mailed from a Spanish-speaking country.


Cover addressed to Lt. Jesse G. Johnson with good will cruise cachet.

The hand-stamp of the left-side 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. Also “Jorge Chavez Monument Dedication” hand-stamp. The postmark with killer bars reads “U.S.S. Sep 23 A.M. 1937 RANGER CALLAO PERU”.


Cover addressed to Lt. Jesse G. Johnson with good will cruise cachet.

The text on both stamps reads: JORGE CHÁVEZ  HÉROE PERUANO QUE TRASMONTÓ

LOS ALPES DE BRIGUE A DOMODOSSOLA, PASANDO EL SIMPLÓN A 2.009M. (1887-1910). It is interesting to note that the stamp on the right (magenta, issued on 20 December 1936) correctly spells the name of Domodossala. This stamp also notes: Arriba, siempre arriba!, which means: Higher, Always Higher!.


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 with a 3-cent stamp titled “Ordinance of 1787”. The left of the envelope features a raised illustration of the winged crest of stripes and under wings “Aircraft Battle Force / United States Fleet”. Under this has a raised illustration of an eagle full profile carrying the star and stripe crest in foot claws. Under this, is a raised illustration of the navigation wheel of a ship and an anchor with a rope design around where an original photo titled “U.S.S. Ranger” is located. The envelope was addressed to “Lt. J.G. Johnson, USN / U.S.S. Ranger, / CALLO. PERU.”


Front of cover with good-will cachet. A sequential number is hand-stamped on the left side.


Back of the above cover, hand-stamp paying tribute to John Paul Jones, known in the United States as the Father of the American Navy. John Paul Jones (6 July 1747 – 18 July 1792) was the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War.





Crosby covers – U.S.S. Hull, U.S.S. Ranger and U.S.S. Worden. Walter G. Crosby was a well known and prolific cover producer from the early 1930s to 1947. He was a retired US Navy CGM (Chief Gunner's Mate). He perfected the use of raised print cachets incorporating a small photo (see lower left of the cover below). Crosby used a specialized heat printing process known as “thermography’ which was done by sprinkling resin or wax powder on the wet ink and then heating the cover melting the material, resulting in a raised effect in the printing. Having been in the Navy for a long time, he had many contacts with active Navy personnel, who enabled him to get his covers postmarked from many ships. His covers were also for sale in a number of ships' stores. He also produced many First Day Covers and First Flight Covers. According to ICAO records, the Conference ended on 25 September 1937, although these covers indicate 27 September.