to Mr. Evarts.
Mexico , May 27, 1879. (Received June 12, 1879.)
Sir: Referring to your dispatch No. 609, of March 26 last, relating to the contract made by the Mexican Government for the colonization of the island of Ciari, I have to report that, in a note dated on the 21st ultimo, I communicated to the Mexican foreign office the substance of your said dispatch, protesting against the invidious distinction made by the Mexican Government in excluding American citizens from the rights conceded to other foreigners as to the ownership of real estate in the frontier States.
The minister of foreign affairs, in reply thereto, sent me a note on yesterday, of which I inclose herewith a translation. It will be seen that he claims for Mexico the full right to place limitations upon the privilege conceded to foreigners to acquire and hold real estate in this country, and that he maintains that such limitations or prohibition as to citizens of the United States are not a violation of either the letter or the spirit of the treaty of 1831. It will also be noticed that he plainly indicates that such prohibition against American citizens holding real estate in the frontier States is inspired by the fear of territorial encroachment to the danger of the Mexican autonomy.
In acknowledging the minister’s note to-day, I have limited myself to saying I would forward a copy to you and await your indication before making a reply thereto.
If your dispatch and protest have had no other result, they have at least led the Mexican Government to state its real feeling in regard to frontier intercourse with our people, which is a fear that the acquisition [Page 810] of American interests across the border may result in the dismemberment of its territory.
This feeling has been most marked in the present session of Congress, which adjourns on the 31st instant, wherein the most decided hostility has been manifested against any railroad connection with the United States, the two bills for that object pending in that body having made no successful progress towards their passage.
Awaiting your further instructions on the subject of this dispatch.
I am, &c.,