Aviation Pioneers

Stephen Latchford: Aviation Pioneer

Stephen Latchford was a U.S. diplomat who became one of his country’s foremost authorities on aviation law and a key influence when it came to that mode of transportation. He was born in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, in 4 Feb 1883, and his interest in aviation began at a young age. He studied law at Washington College and graduated in 1920  and then he was admitted to the Bar of the District of Columbia in October of that year.

In 1920, Latchford was appointed as the U.S. representative to the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN). He played a key role in drafting the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which was signed in 1944. This convention established the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is the United Nations agency responsible for setting international standards and regulations for civil aviation.

Latchford was also instrumental in the development of Pan American World Airways. He served as chairman of the U.S. delegations to the International Conference on Air Law and Navigation (CITEJA) and as U.S. representative at the United States-Canada Aviation Conference. He helped to negotiate the airmail contracts that made Pan American the dominant airline in the Western Hemisphere.

During World War II, Latchford served as a government adviser on air law. He played a crucial role in the preparation and planning for the Marshall Plan, which helped to rebuild Europe after the war.

Latchford retired from the State Department in 1950. He died in 1 Oct 1974 at the age of 80.


  • Stephen Latchford – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Latchford
  • 1883: An Influential Aviation Expert is Born at a Rail Junction in Maryland – Transportation History: https://transportationhistory.org/2022/02/04/1883-an-influential-aviation-expert-is-born-at-a-rail-junction-in-maryland/

Keywords: Stephen Latchford, aviation pioneer, ICAO, Pan American World Airways, Marshall Plan

featured image source: By Abmaoja – partyPreviously published: no, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20847312