File No. 812.63/414

Ambassador Fletcher to the Secretary of State

No. 23

Sir: Referring to my telegram No. 14 of March 10, 2 p.m., I have the honor to report in more complete detail the procedure prescribed by the Department of Fomento, Colonization and Industry to be followed by owners of mines in Mexico who, being unable to resume or begin operations, have not applied for an extension of time in which to resume operations, or, having applied for such extension, have not put their petitions in proper form.

These petitions must be in the Spanish language, addressed and sent directly to the Secretary of Fomento, Colonization and Industry, signed by the owner of the property in question, or his legal representative, and stamped with a fifty centavo Mexican documentary stamp.

The petition should enumerate the name, title number, exact location and number of pertenencias in the property, the reasons which the owner alleges for his failure to operate the property, and a request that extension of time be granted in which to begin or resume operations. The last mining tax receipt (boleta) should accompany the petition to show that taxes are paid up to date.

I enclose a copy of the memorandum of information I am sending mine owners who write this Embassy inquiring for information in this matter. I also enclose a translation of a circular issued by the Department of Fomento, Colonization and Industry February 21, 1917, which contains the most recently published regulations and [Page 1048]instructions on the subject of ownership and operation of mines in Mexico.

As I have elsewhere reported, both the First Chief and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have assured me that extensions will be granted mine owners in all proper cases, and that they prefer to deal with each case individually upon its merits, rather than adopt the plan suggested in your telegram No. 8, February 24, 1 p.m.

The action taken by the Department of Fomento, and the declarations of the Minister of Fomento, when certain cases of non-operation of mines have been presented to him personally are in conformity with this reasonable attitude of the de facto Government of Mexico.

I have [etc.]

Henry P. Fletcher
[Inclosure—Translation]

circular issued by the department of fomento, colonization and industry, february 21, 1917

The decree of September 14, 1916, issued by the First Chief of the Constitutionalist Army charged with the Executive Power of the Nation, established the penalty of forfeiture for those mining concessions whose owners should not develop their properties in accordance with the requirements of the decree, specifying to this effect a period of two months for resuming work in the mines, which period was extended until the 14th of the present month by circular No. 22 of this Department, issued by the Bureau of Mines and Petroleum.

Various concessionaires have complied with this decree, and have begun work in their mines; others have requested an extension of time in order to comply with it, and another group has incurred the penalty of forfeiture referred to; the properties of this last-mentioned group, with the approval of the First Chief, are therefore subject to intervention by the Department of Hacienda and Public Credit after the Department of Fomento declares the forfeiture of the respective concessions.

In order to comply with the resolutions of the Executive of the 16th of the present month, and in order to proceed with entire justice, this Department has resolved as follows with respect to each of the before-mentioned groups:

  • First Group.—Concessionaires whose properties are being worked:
    1.
    Concessionaires of mining properties now being worked are required to verify before the first day of next April, in this Department, with the respective receipts or certificates, if they have not already done so, that they are up to date in the payment of the mining tax.
    2.
    They are required to render before the first day of next April, either directly to this Department, or to the agency in their district, a detailed report for each one of their properties, which shall contain the description of operations, both above and below ground, giving the following general data:
    A.
    Name of the property, name of the original concessionaire, name of the present owner, situation of the mine, boundaries, area, number of the title, number of the registry, principal ore which is exploited, and metals or metalloids that it is desired to exploit.
    These data will be accompanied by a true copy of the original plan of the property.
    B.
    A clear and detailed explanation of each of the explorations or developments that is being made at the present time. In case of a group of mines, where work of exploration is being done, the development of which extends over two or more properties, the written report of this work will be accompanied by a plan which gives a complete idea of the project, in order that this Department may determine which properties are included in the work referred to.
    C.
    The number of employees and operators, hours of labor, salaries and day wages, centers of population which furnish laborers for this work.
    D.
    Motors employed: man power, steam, hydraulic, gas, electric, etc.
    E.
    The machinery used in the work of development, ventilation and drainage, and in the preparation and treatment of the minerals.
    F.
    System of development and treatment.
    G.
    Production of ore, stating the amount of ore exported and the amount treated; approximate percentage of the ore exported and of the ore treated.
    H.
    The supply of the principal materials employed in the development and treatment of the ores, such as steel, explosives, lubricants, carbides, wood cyanide, zinc, acetate of lead, fusing substances, combustibles, etc.
    3.
    They will also state their nationality. If companies, they will declare whether or not they are organized in accordance with the laws of the land.
  • Second Group.—Concessionaires who request an extension of time in order to comply with the decree of the 14th of September.
    1.
    Concessionaires of mining properties who request an extension of time in order to comply with the decree of the 14th of September are required to verify before the first day of next April, in this Department, with the respective receipts or certificates, if they have not already done so, that they are up to date in the payment of the mining tax.
    2.
    If, in the request presented by the concessionaires of this group, the properties referred to have not been specified, this should be done, accompanied by a report which contains for each one of them the following data:
    A.
    Name of the property, name of the original concessionaire, name of the present owner, situation of the mine, boundaries, area, number of the title, number of the registry, principal ore which is being developed, and the metal or metalloids produced by the development.
    These data will be accompanied by a true copy of the original plan of the property.
    B.
    A report of the work which was done before the suspension of operations, stating the number of employees and operators, hours of work, salaries and day wages, and the centers of population which furnish the labor.
    3.
    They will state their nationality; if companies, they will state whether or not they are organized in accordance with the laws of the land.
    4.
    After these requirements have been complied with, and after considering the reasons stated in the petition, and the general conditions of the zone in which the properties referred to are situated, this Department will fix the maximum extension of time for resuming or initiating work.
  • Third Group.—Concessionaires who did not comply with the decree referred to:
    1.
    Since all of the concessionaires of mining properties belonging to this group have incurred the penalty of forfeiture, this Department will proceed immediately to forward to the Treasury, (Hacienda) a detailed list of said mining properties, in order that they may be intervened.
    2.
    During the period of intervention, before this Department declares corresponding confiscation, the interested parties may make representations to retain possession of their concessions, stating to this Department the reasons for their noncompliance with the decree; their decision to resume work on the mining property in question; the means at their disposal for this purpose, and the time fixed for doing so. In order to determine whether the reasons stated merit attention, and whether the securities they give for compliance with their proposals are sufficient, these will be presented by this Department to the consideration of the First Chief of the Constitutionalist Army, in charge of the Executive Power of the Nation, when the declaration of confiscation which should be issued for the properties referred to are presented for his approval.
    3.
    In order that this petition may be acted upon it must be accompanied by vouchers showing that the concessionaire has paid the mining tax to date.
    4.
    The respective petition referring to properties should contain the following data:
    A.
    Name of the property and name of the first concessionaire, name of the present owner, location of the mine, boundaries, area, number of title, number of registry, principal ore being developed, and the metals or metalloids being produced.
    These data will be accompanied by a true copy of the original plan of the property.
    B.
    A report of the work done before the suspension of operations, stating the number of employees and operators, hours of work, salaries and day wages and centers of population which furnished laborers.
    5.
    They will state their nationality. If companies, they will declare whether or not they are organized in accordance with the laws of the country.
    Another group of mines exists which, in accordance with circular number 25, of April 29, 1914, given by the First Chief of the Constitutionalist Army in charge of the Executive Power of the Nation, and which has obtained permission [Page 1050]from this Department to develop its properties before issuing the corresponding title.
    The petitioners for these properties are required:
    1.
    To submit, before the first day of April next, a report of the work undertaken by them, stating the number of employees and operators now engaged, the plan of work which they expect to follow, what force or energy they are using, what class of machinery they have installed, what ores they are developing, what is the present production of ore, what is the approximate percentage of ore obtained.
    2.
    To prove within the same period of time, to this Department, with the receipts or certificates, that they have paid the mining tax to date.
    3.
    The report shall contain the following general data:
    A.
    Name of the property, name of the petitioner, location of the mine, boundaries, area, number of corresponding document, (expediente) number of the registry, ores and metals of metalloids that are being developed.
    B.
    Nationality of the petitioner. If companies, they will state whether or not they are organized in accordance with the laws of the land.
    The above is published for the information and guidance of the public and those interested.

Constitution and Reforms

Pastor Rouaix
[Inclosure 2]

memorandum relative to petitions to be presented to the ministry of fomento of the de facto government of mexico for extension of time for operation of mines

The Ministry of Fomento, in response to various requests presented by the American Embassy on behalf of American citizens for an extension of time in which to resume or begin the operation of mining properties, has indicated that the interested parties must make their petitions directly to the Ministry.

Such petitions must be written in the Spanish language, bear a properly canceled fifty centavo Mexican documentary stamp, be signed by the owner of the property in question or his legal representative, and set forth the following points:

1.
The name, title number, exact location, and number of pertenencias (area) of the mining property for which extension of time is required.
2.
The reasons which the owner alleges for the nonoperation of his property.
3.
A request that extension of time be granted in which to begin or resume operation.

This petition should be accompanied by the last boleta or mining tax receipt, in order to show that the taxes are paid up to date.