File No. 812.63/47.
The Secretary of State to Special Agent Carothers.
Washington, April 7, 1915.
Immediately present following to Villa respecting decree relative to mining property issued Monterey March 19 last:[Page 896]
Provisions decree relating to forfeiture mining property because of: (1) voluntary suspension for ninety days working mines; (2) abandonment of work; (3) deficient exploitation; and (4) failure to maintain prescribed work in each five-hectar section—appear wholly unjust in view of disturbed conditions in Mexico which have led this Government to advise its citizens to leave Mexico, and continuance of which obliges Government to refrain from advising them it is safe to return there.
Many of these Americans and other foreigners, as result of such conditions, have already lost large amounts property. Many of them have undergone great sacrifices to pay taxes increased by such conditions and imposed on properties from which income was cut off. Moreover, it has been necessary in some cases to pay taxes on some properties to two of contending factions. Furthermore, destruction railroad facilities and scarcity labor, both due to conditions mentioned, greatly enhance difficulties of mine owners.
Last numbered requirement of decree seems particularly unjust as requiring great expenditures whether or not ore body known to exist and regardless of whether existing ore is of profitable grade.
In view, therefore, of conditions mentioned, which apparently render compliance with decree practically impossible so far as concerns large numbers of Americans and other foreign mine owners, this Government cannot but regard decree as confiscatory in its nature and therefore must urgently protest against application its provisions to property Americans and other foreigners.