File No. 812.6363/205a
The Secretary of State to Special Agent Silliman
Washington, January 21, 1916, 5 p.m.
Department’s attention called to recent action Department Fomento canceling summarily contract of concession granted by Madero Government to Robleda and other Mexican citizens in June, 1912, for exploring and exploiting oil and gases in river banks and beds in Vera Cruz and Tamaulipas. Contract was transferred to Compañia Petrolera Maritima in August, 1913, and transfer recognized by Huerta authorities who appear to have been functioning at that time in territory involved. Stock of present company is owned by American citizens who claim to have expended large sums in boring well and who insist that no grounds for forfeiture exist; that suspension work which occurred resulted from decree Carranza Government July, 1914, [January 7, 1915?] ordering suspension all works of exploiting oil pending determination status of petroleum legislation and that recent decree of Secretary of Fomento ratifying annulment of contract was based on new grounds on which company was not heard, including that of forfeiture because of transfer of contract without previous permission of Department of Fomento. The company contends that permission by Huerta officials for transfer of contract was purely administrative act, and since contract and rights thereunder emanated from Constitutional Government under Madero, the faculty of officials of the present de facto Government to arbitrarily cancel contract is lacking and that there should be a regular determination of forfeiture by competent tribunal before which interested parties have right of defense which is guaranteed by the Constitution and treaty rights.
You will request Carranza to take appropriate steps to suspend the decree of forfeiture and to protect property of company against seizure or interference.