711.1211/28: Telegram

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

14. Your 16, February 1, noon.

Inform Mr. Pani as follows: Department is not disposed to entertain Mr. Pani’s proposals unless the rights of American citizens acquired prior to the adoption of the 1917 Constitution are adequately safeguarded. Article 1 in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which you submitted to General Obregon last May, was drafted solely with this object in view. The Department believes that this article contains nothing opposed to the fundamental laws of Mexico, unless said laws are to be given a retroactive and confiscatory effect, which General Obregon himself has repeatedly disclaimed in public statements, and the Department would be glad to have Mr. Pani indicate to you specifically General Obregon’s objections to this article.

In the event it is possible to arrive at an agreement upon the terms of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce satisfactory to both parties before the execution of the Claims Conventions, the Mexican proposals may offer a way out of the present impasse. In other words, if such an agreement can be arrived at, the Department would be disposed to meet General Obregon’s wishes for a brief delay in its execution.

Unless General Obregon is willing to put the draft of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce into a form acceptable to both parties beforehand, it would be futile to engage in any discussion of the claims conventions themselves. However, should General Obregon be willing to adopt the above suggestion, the Department will immediately indicate certain minor changes which it believes should be made in the draft claims conventions proposed by Mr. Pani.