812.5200/50: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Sheffield)

254. Your 231, November 12, 11 A.M.26 and previous. Further consideration of this matter leads to the belief that new detailed discussion of the proposed legislation affecting foreign property in Mexico is inopportune and perhaps useless, and that the situation [Page 528] must be dealt with along broad lines. You will therefore, unless you see good reason to the contrary, seek an immediate interview with the Minister for Foreign Relations, and read to him textually the following message from me, leaving with him, if you deem it desirable, an Aide-Memoire embodying the message:27

“I am moved to make this personal appeal to you in the hope that the clouds which I perceive on the horizon of friendship between the United States and Mexico may be removed, and I beg of you please to understand that I am speaking to you solely on the basis of friendship and wish to avoid any criticism of prospective legislation of a neighboring friendly and sovereign State. It is in fact to avoid even a semblance of such an attitude that I am taking this step and may I ask that this appeal be taken up by you with the President of the Republic, for whom we have such high regard and esteem, and deep personal appreciation of his high qualities formed during his brief sojourn in the United States before entering into office.

As long ago as July, 1924, notes were exchanged by you and Ambassador Warren,28 in which it was agreed to negotiate a new Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the two countries. The impediments to the negotiation of such a Treaty now no longer exist, and I venture to suggest to Your Excellency the opportuneness of beginning such negotiations now, in order that a firmer basis of mutual relationship which can only redound to the advantage of the two countries and their nationals be formed. Please understand that I venture to make this suggestion in the most friendly spirit possible. We are convinced that a Treaty can be negotiated which will be fair and satisfactory to both countries and of lasting benefit to Mexico.

I am not moved to make this suggestion because of the present proposed legislation in Mexico. It is, however, futile at such long distance to attempt to reach any understanding with you in regard to the effects of such legislation. Furthermore, nothing could be further from my intention than to seem to wish to interfere with the free course of legislation in your country. There are certain considerations, however, which must cause immediate concern. Americans with acquired rights will appeal to this Government, which is naturally bound to do its utmost on their behalf. The situation may become extremely confused and we must always bear in mind both the letter and spirit of the proceedings of the United States–Mexican Commission, convened in Mexico City on May 14, 1923. However, I do not wish to enter into any discussion of this matter, and I venture to hope that there will be no necessity thereof, as I am loath to believe that the Mexican Government intends to take any action in contravention of that understanding. The Mexican Government surely has in mind the economic aspects and consequences of such legislation. I do not desire to assume the role of uninvited adviser.

Let us take a broad view of this matter. My stand is that I dislike to discuss details of the proposed legislation, but I can not help but hope that nothing will be done which will tend to affect the good relations between the two countries which we have so much at heart, [Page 529] and make a continuation of the mutually constructive policy initiated during the presidency of President Obregon impossible.

I beg of you, therefore, Mr. Minister, to accept this appeal in the same friendly spirit from which it springs, and I await with interest and confidence the response of President Calles and yourself.”

You may, if in subsequent discussion it appears timely, suggest orally to the Minister that we would be glad to take up the negotiation of a new Treaty of Amity and Commerce in Washington with anyone whom he may care to designate.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The aide-mémoire was presented on November 17.
  3. On July 18 and 21, 1924; not printed.