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

No. 1708

Sir: The Department has received letters from various American citizens, protesting against the promulgation and the operation of the Agrarian law passed by the State of Durango and published in the [Page 492] Periodico Oficial dated July 14, 1921, providing for the expropriation of property in excess of five thousand hectares held by any person or corporation in that State.

This law is passed for the purposes expressed in Section 7 of Article 27 of the Constitution of Mexico of 1917.

In a telegram dated July [January] 22, 1917, to Mr. Parker,98 representing American interests in Mexico City at that time, the Department outlined in the third and the last paragraphs of that telegram its position relative to Section 7 of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution.

Guided by this telegram, you are instructed immediately to bring this law informally to the attention of the appropriate authorities, pointing out that the operation of this law will apparently result in the attempted confiscation of property rights acquired in accordance with Mexican law, and that the method of taking provided in the Agrarian law of the State of Durango does not involve a proper exercise of the right of expropriation. You will express the hope that measures will be taken looking to the non-enforcement and the ultimate repeal of this law, as the United States cannot acquiesce in any attempt, direct or indirect, to confiscate property lawfully owned by its citizens in Mexico.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Henry P. Fletcher