Report of the Consul in Charge at Mexico, D. F. (Ferris)

Referring to the Department’s mimeographed instruction of July 25, 1919,92 (File No. 812.52), relative to the policy of the Mexican Government in restoring the land to the people, through the medium of the towns and cities, the practical operation of the laws on this subject is now being brought to my notice, and may be of interest to the Department. The process is simple and direct. Heads of families are allowed five hectares each. Anyone wishing land applies to the town government. The town applies to a local agrarian commission, which in turn applies to the national commission. An official surveyor determines what land is to be allotted. The tract is then divided and occupied, without giving the owner previous notice or an opportunity for a hearing of any kind. The compensation allowed is the tax appraisement with ten per cent added. Appraisement of land for purposes of taxation is very low, about half the real value. For this compensation only state bonds are given, payable in twenty years. So far as I have been informed, unused lands are not taken, the tracts determined on by the surveyors being in every case the best portions of the land actually under cultivation.

A copy of this report is being sent to the Embassy, with a copy of a memorandum addressed to the French Minister by citizens of France, who have had lands taken from them under the law in question.

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