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

No. 4165

Sir: I have the honor to report that the Excelsior of today states that, after a series of conferences between General Obregon and some of the justices of the Supreme Court, it has been agreed that the Supreme Court will begin, during the coming week, to hand down its decisions in the hundred or more amparo cases instituted by the petroleum companies since the month of December, 1918, which decisions will establish whether or not Article 27 of the Federal Constitution79 is or is not retroactive.

The article states that the cases have been divided into groups, the principal five of which are the following:

Cases of amparo against laws not yet being enforced.
Cases of amparo against laws which have been put into force.
Amparo arising out of denouncements made by third parties on petroleum property in accordance with the decrees of 1918,80 which provided that such denouncements might be made on properties which have not been manifested.
Amparos against the refusal of the Federal Executive Power to grant permission to drill new wells.
Amparo against the issuance of titles to those making new denouncements.

It appears that the intention of the court is to render a decision in at least one case of each of the above specified groups, concerning which the principal questions at issue are the constitutionality of the decrees of President Carranza, promulgated by virtue of the extraordinary power which he had in the Department of Hacienda, whereas the decrees referred to the Department of Industry and Commerce; and whether or not Article 27 of the Constitution is retroactive.

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The article closes with the statement that the general impression is that the Justices of the Supreme Court are of the opinion that the cases should be decided in favor of the petroleum companies.

I have [etc.]

George T. Summerlin