812.6363/2475: Telegram

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

16. We were advised that the President today signed the recent amendment to the petroleum act referred to in my despatch No. 215 [Page 294] and that the form of the bill as signed is as quoted in that despatch. It is expected that the official text of the bill will be printed in the Diario Oficial tomorrow.

Pursuant to an arrangement made with the President and Secretary Morones the following communication was sent today by the Huasteca Company to the Secretary of Industry, Commerce and Labor:

“Citizen Secretary of Industry, Commerce and Labor: H. N. Branch, representing the Huasteca Petroleum Company, very respectfully comes before you to state: that with regard to the provision of article 14 of the law of December 26, 1925, recently amended, I have the honor to approach you on behalf of my principals to beg that you be so good as to advise me whether the request for confirmatory concessions by a foreign company implies any surrender of rights acquired prior to May 1, 1917. I proffer the assurances of my courteous consideration. Mexico, D. F., January 9, 1928.”

To the foregoing communication the Secretary of Industry, Commerce and Labor sent the following answer:

“Mr. H. N. Branch, representative of the Huasteca Petroleum Company, City. In reply to your communication No. 11–28 of today I inform you as follows: The Federal Executive in compliance with the decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Justice in the amparo of the Mexican Petroleum Company5 proposed to the honorable Congress the amendment of articles 14 and 15 of the petroleum law of December 26, 1925, and the study of this amendment belonged to the Second Committee on Constitutional Points of the Chamber of Deputies, which rendered to the Chamber a report that says in its fundamental part: ‘The confirmation of a right is its express recognition in all its amplitude and with the conditions inherent therein so that no restriction whatever can be established in respect of the term or conditions imposed with relation to the rights that are confirmed, since any restriction in this respect implies a modification of the right confirmed and a retroactive application of the law, contrary to article 14 of the Constitution, since the rights confirmation of which is provided for in article 14 of the law, are prior to the date on which the fundamental law went into force.’6

Therefore, in view of the consideration which preceded the bill of amendment submitted by the Executive, this Department believes that the petition for confirmatory concession on the part of a national or foreign company does not imply the renunciation of rights acquired before May 1 of 1917, such confirmatory concession operating as the recognition of rights which will continue in force subject only to police regulations.

I repeat to you the assurances of my courteous consideration. Effective suffrage; no reelection. Mexico, D. F., January 9, 1928, the Secretary, signed L. Morones.”

[Page 295]

Mr. H. N. Branch of the Huasteca Company is preparing a printed book setting out in English the decision of the Supreme Court rendered on November 17, the President’s message to Congress enclosed with my despatch No. 198, December 27,7 the report of the Constitutional Committee [of] Congress, enclosed with my No. 215, December 30, the act itself and the correspondence given above. [Paraphrase.] I hope that the companies will await the full report from Branch before they make their decision …[End paraphrase.]

  1. For the decision of November 17, 1927, see Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. iii, p. 197.
  2. For the corrected text of this quoted sentence, see telegram No. 23, Jan. 12, 1928, noon, from the Chargé in Mexico, p. 295.
  3. Not printed.