File No. 812.6363/219

The Secretary of State to the Compañia Petrolera Maritima

Sir: The Department acknowledges the receipt of your letter of January 7, 1916, enclosing the complaint and protest of the Compañia Petrolera Maritima concerning the alleged attempted cancellation, without just cause by the Government of Mexico of a certain contract of lease, held and owned by the said company, nearly all the members and stockholders of which, you state, are American citizens. You state that the said complaint and exhibits attached thereto make out a complete case and show that the attempted cancellation is without legal or equitable foundation, and you make a detailed statement of the reasons for submitting the protest. Receipt is also acknowledged of the addendum, bearing date of January 15, 1916, to the letter above mentioned. In this addendum you quote a telegram received from the company’s manager, Mr. McFarland, at Mexico City, to the counsel of the company, in which telegram it is stated that Subsecretary Pastor Rouaix wrote to Casteiazo declining to answer the demurrer against cancellation of the contract on new grounds, without opportunity for defense provided in the contract.

In reply you are informed that on January 21, 1916, this Department sent’ telegraphic instructions to Mr. John R. Stilliman, its representative near General Carranza, to request General Carranza to take appropriate steps to suspend the decree of forfeiture and to protect the company’s property against seizure or interference.

In reply to the telegraphic instructions of January 21, the Department’s representative, on January 25, sent the following telegram:

Compañia Petrolera Maritima.

Have had two interviews with Foreign Secretary on this matter and have gone over with him most carefully and fully the Department’s message. The Secretary, speaking for General Carranza, limits himself for the present to the following reply:

The Government of Mexico is surprised that the Government of the United States should make the representation transmitted when only the interests of Mexican citizens appear concerned.

In view of the statement contained in the last paragraph of Mr. Silliman’s telegram, the Department suggests that you furnish it with a statement of the beneficial interests in the Compañia Petrolera Maritima which are vested in American citizens, and of the proportion which such interests bear to those in the property of nationals of other countries, and particularly of Mexican citizens.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Alvey A. Adee