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

No. 1996

Sir: I am in receipt of your despatch No. 4955, of February 7, 1922,62 transmitting a translation of an executive resolution which appeared in El Universal of February 7, 1922, with respect to the latter part of paragraph I of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which reads, in translation, as follows:

“Within a zone of 100 kilometers from the frontiers, and of 50 kilometers from the sea coast, no foreigner shall under any conditions acquire direct ownership of lands and waters.”

It appears that, pending the enactment of legislation to enforce Article 27, foreigners owning lands in the zones referred to will not be disturbed in their peaceful possessions, but that the Department of Agriculture and Development has been empowered to regulate the possessions either by parceling them to such Mexicans as the concessionaire may propose, or by exchanging them for other properties outside of the prohibited zones.

You are instructed to state informally to the appropriate authorities that, since the constitutional provision in question refers to the acquirement of lands, you assume that the resolution mentioned relates only to lands that have been purchased by foreigners since the date when the Constitution became effective, and that, in view of the provision of paragraph I of the resolution that foreigners will not be disturbed in the peaceful possession of lands pending the enactment of legislation, you also assume that the provisions of paragraph II relative to action by the Department of Agriculture and Development refer only to arrangements made with the consent of such foreigners.

I am [etc.]

Henry P. Fletcher
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