The Alternate Chairman of the International Committee of Bankers on Mexico ( T. W. Lamont ) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: …

In regard to the projected visit to Mexico,8 it is the belief of the American Committee, in which I know the foreign committees join, that some response should now be made to the invitations that have been extended to me by the Mexican Government. Accordingly, the American Committee has authorized me to make response, and unless the Department disapproves I propose to address the following letter to the Mexican Chargé, at Washington,9 who came to New York in person and presented the original invitation to us from his government:

“Referring to your letter of February 7th last, addressed to me as Acting Chairman of the International Committee of Bankers on Mexico,10 transmitting certain expressions from your government as to any possible visit that I might make to Mexico City; referring further to my reply of February 8th last,10 in which I said that

‘I have conferred with the members of this Committee, and it was their unanimous opinion that, while the Committee was anxious to cooperate with the Mexican Government in every way in its power, yet as this Committee was formed with the approval of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain and France, the American section of the Committee felt bound to withhold its decision in the present situation until it had consulted with the Department of State at Washington,—which Department would doubtless wish the Committee to confer also with members of the incoming administration. This Committee also felt,—and I am sure you will agree—that it is under an obligation to consult its foreign colleagues as to your government’s interesting and important communication.’

“I have now been authorized by the American Section of the Committee to accept the invitation proffered by your Government, at such time as it may prove personally practicable for me to avail myself of it, subject, however, to any announced action or declaration by the Mexican Congress, or by any other body authorized in the [Page 495] premises, to the effect that Article 27 of the so-called Carranza constitution11 shall not be construed as being retroactive.12

“For your further information, I may say that I recently held conferences abroad with the foreign sections of the International Committee, these sections representing, as you know, the large investment interests of Great Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Holland. I am glad to be able to inform you that the foreign sections of the International Committee are strongly in accord with the desire of the American section, as already expressed to you, of assisting, in any possible way, the Mexican Government and people in the proper adjustment of their outstanding external obligations; and it became clear to me in the course of my conferences abroad that the great investment interests of the countries over there feel it to be vital to the rehabilitation and future maintenance of Mexican Government credit, that remedy shall be brought about of the present anomalous situation by which, under Article 27 of the so-called Carranza constitution, the property rights of citizens, not only of America but of England, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland, continue to be jeopardized.

“The foreign sections of the International Committee join with the American section in expressing the earnest hope that some early solution of this most important point may be brought about by the Mexican Government and they have asked me to hold myself in readiness, upon receipt of favorable information to this effect and upon being assured that the Department of State approves such a visit, to proceed, at my convenience, to Mexico City and there to discuss with the government pending financial questions, acting in behalf, not only of the American section but of the foreign sections as well of the International Committee.

“Please present to the officials of your government my cordial acknowledgment of their assurances as to my reception and state that I hope the developments as indicated above will be such as to enable me to take advantage of their invitation. Meanwhile I know you will agree with me as to the advisability of maintaining as strictly confidential this communication to you.”

The point that I have made in the foregoing proposed letter to the Chargé will serve, it seems to me, to emphasize strongly the very point on which you have laid stress in your own communications to the Mexican Government. As a matter of fact, as I explained to you in my interview with you at Washington a few weeks ago, the International Committee’s authorization to me to proceed to Mexico is not qualified by the condition that I set forth above, but I know that I am representing the feeling of the Committee when I state that our present response to the invitation extended by the Mexican Government should be clearly qualified in the manner above indicated.

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One reason that the International Committee deems it highly expedient to make a response now to the invitation from the Mexican Government is that they continue to receive alarming reports as to the movement against Obregon, and they believe that some slight indication of this kind would be of service to him in his difficult domestic situation.

Inasmuch as I am leaving the city for a fortnight’s absence on Thursday evening of this week, I am asking Mr. Patchin, the secretary of our Committee, himself to go to Washington to-night and present this to the Department so as to obtain, if possible, your prompt comment upon the form of our proposed communication. Such a communication as I have proposed ought, it seems to me, to satisfy the present wishes of the foreign sections of our Committee, and as I stated to you in my last letter, it will, in no event, be convenient for me to proceed to Mexico City until the end of sixty days from now, or approximately in the early autumn, and very likely the ensuing time will yield further developments favorable to the attitude of the Department.

I am [etc.]

Thomas W. Lamont
  1. See the statement by Mr. Lamont in the New York Times, Feb. 9, 1921, p. 19.
  2. Transmitted by Mr. Lamont to Senor Téllez on June 30.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1917, p. 951.
  6. For papers relating to a project of law to give effect to art. 27, see pp. 439446.