File No. 812.113/4679
The Division of Mexican Affairs to the Secretary of State
Division of Mexican Affairs,
Washington, August 7, 1916.
The following presidential proclamations have been issued:
- President Taft’s proclamation of March 14, 1912,4 prohibiting the exportation of munitions of war to Mexico, except under certain limitations to be prescribed by the President.
- President Wilson’s proclamation of February 3, 1914,5 lifting the embargo on the shipment of munitions of war to Mexico.
- President Wilson’s proclamation of October 19, 1915,6 replacing the embargo on the shipment of munitions of war to Mexico, and prescribing that such shipments are to be made only under certain limitations.
The Department’s records show that after the issuance of the proclamation of March 14, 1912, we authorized the shipment of munitions of war to the Mexican Government, and to industrial and commercial firms, which the Department’s information indicated were reliable. It also appears from the records that the Department refused to grant permission for the exportation of explosives to mining companies when it seemed that the supplies would fall into the hands of insurrectionary bands.
As soon as President Wilson issued his proclamation of October 19, 1915, he directed the Secretary of the Treasury, by letter, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of State, to apply its terms only to the States of Sonora and Chihuahua and to the Territory of Lower California: and thereafter shipments of munitions of war intended for places in the States of Sonora and Chihuahua and the Territory of Lower California were permitted only on special authority of the President. This direction to the Secretary of the Treasury meant that there were no restrictions on the shipments of munitions of war to any places in Mexico other than those in the sections above mentioned. After the issuance of the proclamation of October 19, 1915, the recognized de facto Government of Mexico was permitted by the President, on the recommendation of the Department of State, to ship munitions of war into Sonora, Chihuahua, and Lower California. Explosives to be used for industrial purposes were also permitted to enter these sections in the same manner. There was, however, no blanket authority given for any of these shipments, and it was necessary to submit to the Department of State a separate application for permission to export each individual shipment.
The above was the practice followed immediately after the proclamation of October 19, 1915, was placed in effect. Later, however, the procedure was modified through the cooperation of several of the Executive Departments of the Government, and informal embargoes on the shipment of munitions, as well as on some other articles, have been, from time to time, placed in effect on shipments [Page 794] from the United States destined to any place in Mexico, and these informal embargoes have been modified to meet existing conditions. It may be said in this connection that we have of late been refusing to allow any arms or ammunition to go to the de facto Government of Mexico, or to individuals and firms in that country, and have been refusing to permit the exportation of machinery or raw materials useful in the manufacture of munitions. Such raw materials are, however, permitted to enter Mexico if the facts indicate that they are not to be used in the manufacture of munitions. We are, however, permitting the shipment to Mexico of limited quantities of explosives for industrial purposes, and such shipments are made by direction of the President when they are exported to Sonora, Chihuahua, and Lower California; and when they go to other parts of Mexico the shipments are permitted by the Treasury Department on the recommendation of the Department of State, concurred in by the War Department, without referring the matter of these particular shipments to the President. The War Department concurs also in all recommendations that the Department of State sends to the President with reference to permitting the shipment of explosives for industrial purposes to Sonora, Chihuahua, and Lower California.