812.6363/463: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Mexico (Summerlin)

2048. Your 3006, June 2, 3 P.M.85

Reply to note of Foreign Office substantially as follows:

As the Government of the United States is informed and believes the only Mexican legislation on the subject of petroleum deposits [Page 604] with which American Companies have failed to comply is the recent legislation covered by decree of February 19, 1918,86 and subsequent decrees on the same subject, compliance with which would constitute an admission of the correctness of the contention of the Mexican Government in the matter of ownership of oil deposits, against which the Government of the United States has made solemn protest, which it now renews, as threatening confiscation of rights legally acquired by American citizens.

When it asserted that the American Companies in question could have complied with such legislation under protest and with the reservations that they might have considered compatible with their interests, the Foreign Office apparently failed to take into account the language used by the Government of Mexico in its reply, understood by the Government of the United States to bear date 01 August 25, 1918,87 to the contention of the petroleum companies and interested individuals in the case of the amparos demanded against the recent decrees of the Mexican Government. Therein, as a further ground for the contention of the Mexican Government that amparo was not in order, that Government referred to the “Constitutional Doctrines” to the effect that when an individual has agreed to be governed as regards his property by a certain statute, he may not later raise the objection that said statute violates the constitutional precepts. In this connection the reply of the Executive Branch of the Mexican Government sets forth that some manifestations had been presented “under protest”, but that “such protest has no legal effect except in the cases precisely specified in the Laws.”

In view of the foregoing the Government of the United States cannot admit that American companies are in any wise blamable for the complication of their situation by reason of denouncements made by third persons, and must reiterate its previous statement that it would regard it as very unfortunate were the Mexican Government, pending a final solution of its difficulties with the petroleum interests, to issue to third persons titles to, or rights in, lands legally held by American citizens.

  1. Not printed; see despatch No. 2063, June 3, p. 598.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1918, p. 702.
  3. Not printed.