File No. 812.52/410

The Secretary of State to Ambassador Fletcher

No. 326

Sir: Article 27, paragraph 1, of the Mexican Constitution, promulgated February 5, 1917, contains the following provisions:

Only Mexicans by birth or naturalization have the right to acquire ownership in lands, waters and other appurtenances, or to obtain concessions to develop lands, waters or mineral fuels in the Republic of Mexico. The Nation may grant the same right to foreigners, provided they agree before the Department of Foreign Affairs to be considered Mexicans in respect to such property, and accordingly not to invoke the protection of their Governments in respect to the same, under penalty, in case of breach, of forfeiture to the Nation of property so acquired. Within a zone of 100 kilometers from the frontiers, and of 50 kilometers from the sea coast, no foreigner shall under any conditions acquire direct ownership of lands and waters.

It seems quite clear from this language of the Constitution that the renunciation of national rights is intended to cover only the property which may be acquired, but the Department desires to know whether this clause is being construed by the Mexican Government as calling for complete renunciation of American citizenship.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Frank L. Polk