812.6363/2078: Telegram

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


516. Yesterday I had a two and a half hour conference with the Foreign Minister. He tried to limit the discussion chiefly to the petroleum law and regulations and to justify Mexico’s contention that the law is not retroactive and confiscatory, and to argue that no material damage had been done or will be done thereunder to American interests. I widened the scope of the discussion by calling attention to the concern of my Government over the apparent uniform tendency of Mexican legislation to contain the same objectionable principles as in the petroleum law and its effect on the property rights of American citizens, such as the alien land law, irrigation, colonization, forestry, mining, etc. I stated that I had no authority to exceed the position taken in the diplomatic correspondence, and I adhered firmly to that position although I expressed the friendliest disposition toward the Government of Mexico.

The Foreign Minister did most of the talking during the long discussion but made no concrete suggestion for meeting the situation. He made no intimation that the Government of Mexico intended to enforce the sanctions especially of the petroleum law after December 31. He ended the interview with the plea that pending difficulties be settled without resorting to “force and violence.”

It is my belief that this interview was important primarily as indicating a tendency of the Government of Mexico to yield to the firm position taken by us as specifically presented in your note dated October 30.