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

No. 215

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 198 of December 27, 1927,2 reporting the introduction of a bill by the President of the Republic in the Mexican Congress for the amendment of articles 14 and 15 of the Petroleum Law now in force,3 I have the honor to inform the Department that according to the local press on December 28 the Chamber of Deputies on December 27 passed the proposed legislation but with the following addition to the amended article 15:

“This term having passed, those rights shall be held as renounced and there shall have no effect whatever against the Federal Government the rights the confirmation of which may not have been requested.”

This action was taken by the Chamber of Deputies by unanimous vote and under suspension of the rules.

The report of the Second Committee on Constitutional Points recommending the passage of the legislation is enclosed herewith in translation.2

Today, I am informed that after reconsideration by both houses of Congress, the bill was passed yesterday as originally introduced with the addition of the word “confirmatory” in describing the concessions stipulated in the introductory clause of Article 14 and with the sanction recommended by the Chamber of Deputies in Article 15. I enclose herewith a copy and translation of the bill as passed for submission to the President.

I have [etc.]

Dwight W. Morrow
[Page 293]

Bill Amending Articles 14 and 15 of the Petroleum Law of December 26, 1925

Sole Article. Articles 14 and 15 of the Law Regulating Article 27 of the Constitution4 in the Petroleum Branch, dated December 26, 1925, are amended in the following terms:

  • Article 14. The following rights shall be confirmed without cost by means of the issuance of confirmatory concessions:
    Those derived from lands upon which petroleum exploitation works were commenced prior to May 1, 1917;
    Those derived from contracts entered into prior to May 1, 1917, by the owner of the surface or his representatives for petroleum exploitation purposes.
    Confirmations of these rights shall be granted without limit of time when they must be made in favor of the owners of the surface; and according to the time stipulated in the contract in the case of rights from contracts entered into by owners of the surface or their representatives.
    To the holders of pipe lines and refiners who may be working at present by virtue of concession or authorization issued by the Department of Industry, Commerce and Labor, and with reference to those same concessions or authorizations.
  • Article 15. A period of one year shall be given, counted from the day following the publication of these reforms to the same day, inclusive, of the following year, to solicit the confirmation of the rights to which the preceding article refers and which have not been the object of confirmatory petitions during the period primarily set in this article.

This term having expired, those rights shall be considered renounced, and rights the confirmation of which has not been solicited shall have no effect whatever against the Federal Government.

Transitory Article. Confirmations solicited within the year 1926 and upon which the respective title has not been issued, shall be granted, if lawful, in accordance with these reforms. Confirmatory titles already issued shall likewise be rectified in accordance therewith.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For text of the petroleum bill approved by the Chamber of Deputies, November 26, 1925, see Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, p. 531. For text of the petroleum law of December 26, 1925, see Diario Oficial, December 31, 1925.
  3. Not printed.
  4. See The Mexican Constitution of 1917 Compared With the Constitution of 1857 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1926).