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

No. 3601

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith the translation of a law enacted by the Mexican Congress, and published in the Diario Oficial of the eighth instant, prescribing the procedure to be followed [Page 475] in making grants or restitutions of lands to towns, hamlets, congregations (congregaciones), communities and other nuclei of population, for their common use until such time as legislation may be enacted on the general subject of land division.

The law prescribes that such grants are of public utility and, consequently, that the legitimate owner thereof has the right to proper indemnization by the Federal Government in accordance with rules established in the law which appear to provide for paying the owner the value of the property as fixed in the tax list plus ten percent and any additional excess which may be allowed by experts for improvements made after the value was fixed in the tax list.

I have [etc.]

George T. Summerlin

Mexican Law of December 28, 1920, Relating to Land Grants

I, Alvaro Obregon, Constitutional President of the United Mexican States, to the inhabitants thereof, know ye:

That the Congress of the Union has transmitted to me the following decree:

The Congress of the United Mexican States decrees:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Chapter V


  • Article 35. The granting of sufficient lands to towns, hamlets, congregations, or communities which prove the necessity or expediency of obtaining lands for their subsistence, shall be of public utility.
  • Article 36. A grant of lands gives to the legitimate owner thereof a right to proper indemnification.
  • Article 37. All claims for indemnification brought about through the application of this law shall be against the Federal Government, and they shall be decided in accordance with the following rules:
    The amount of the indemnification for lands affected in consequence of a grant shall be proportional to the part of the land affected, according to its assessed value, tacitly or expressly recognized by the owner, including aqueducts, buildings, and any other class of constructions which may exist, plus 10 percent.
    The excess of value which the private property may have attained through improvements made subsequent to the fixing of the [Page 476] taxation value, shall be the only part subject to appraisal, two appraisers being named: one by the National Agrarian Commission and the other by the interested party; and in case of the disagreement of the latter or of the National Agrarian Commission with the appraisal, the valuation of improvements shall be submitted to judicial decision. The same shall be done as concerns property the value of which is undetermined in the tax offices.
  • Article 38. In cases of claims against restitutions and the interested party obtains a judicial decision that the restitution made to the town is not in order, the decision shall only give the right to obtain from the Government of the Nation the proper indemnification.

Within the same term of one year, the owners of appropriated lands may appeal to the judicial authority, claiming the indemnification which should be paid them, and stating their unsatisfied claims.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A. Obregon
  1. File translation revised.