File No. 812.011/49
Ambassador Fletcher to the Secretary of State
Mexico City, June 7, 1917—6 p.m.
229. Inasmuch as the President is sick in bed and your telegraphic instruction No. 234 of June 6, 4 p.m. cannot be complied with immediately I respectfully request reconsideration of that portion of it relating to petroleum taxes. I fear that representations along these lines now will prove fruitless and possibly harmful and may result in a refusal to discuss these questions on the usual Mexican ground that it is an interference in a purely domestic matter, thus precipitating a situation which I think we should avoid at this time. The House of Deputies has just passed a resolution calling on the President to propose a petroleum law based on Article 27 of the new Constitution and it was charged in the debate that the foreign petroleum companies are endeavoring by bribe to delay this legislation.
This Government is in a difficult position and is [omission] its deficit of about seventy million pesos, not counting prerevolutionary debts, at the rate of 5 million pesos monthly without present prospect of securing a loan. Money must be raised and petroleum and mining taxation bearing largely upon foreigners seems popular perhaps because of Mexico’s inability to secure foreign financial assistance. From the conversation reported in my telegram 211, June 3, 5 p.m.2 I am not [now?] convinced that this Government is disposed to antagonize American interests [perfunctorily?] and as was intimated in that conversation if financial assistance could be secured from us a full and friendly adjustment of these questions now causing difficulty would be arrived at.
This instruction would seem to involve a change in our present policy with regard to Mexico. I hope that further efforts may be made to work out a satisfactory settlement along lines of friendly cooperation in which American interests will receive proper consideration.[Page 1069]
However, I realize that the Department is in a better position to judge and I shall not fail to carry out in letter and spirit your instructions in the premises, but it seems to be my duty especially as no time will be lost to bring these considerations to your notice.
- Not printed.↩