411.12/926c: Telegram

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

402. 1. On June 17, 1929, the Department addressed a note to the Mexican Chargé d’Affaires in Washington transmitting two draft conventions providing for the extension of the lives, for a period not to exceed two years, of the General and Special Claims Commissions, respectively. This action is in accordance with the provisions of Senate Resolution 73 of May 25, 1929.4 Copy of the Department’s note of June 17 to the Mexican Chargé d’Affaires with enclosures was sent to you by pouch leaving June 19. Department trusts that Mexican Government will shortly give its assent to proposed conventions, as the lives of General and Special Commissions expire respectively on August 30, and August 17 next. Department will appreciate any assistance you may be able to render in order to accelerate favorable decision and requests you to telegraph your views as to attitude of Mexican Government towards the proposal.

2. The resignation of Dr. Sindballe as Presiding Commissioner of both Commissions effective July 1, 1929, entails the necessity of the two Governments taking steps for the nomination of his successor. As you are aware, the two Governments failed to agree on a choice in 1927 and 1928, and thereupon in accordance with the penultimate sentence of Article I of the Conventions requested the President of the Permanent Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague to designate the presiding commissioner.5 The Department is hopeful that the two Governments may now agree on the name of the Third Commissioner thereby making unnecessary a choice by a party not associated with either government and is of the belief that a favorable effect on the public opinion of both countries would be created were it made known that the two Governments had been able so to agree on a suitable arbitrator. The Department would appreciate your informally sounding out the Mexican Government on this matter and if the proposal contained in this paragraph meets with the approval of the Mexican Government, the Department will be glad to submit names and to give attentive consideration to such names as the Mexican Government may care to put forward.

3. Under date of August 16, 1927, draft protocol, providing for continuance of work of the Joint Secretaries and of the respective Agencies of the two Governments pending the ratification by them of the Convention signed August 16, 1927, was submitted to the Mexican [Page 437] Ambassador. Mexican Government declined to sign protocol. (See Department’s telegrams 203 of August 30 and 206 of August 31, 1927.6) In order that there may be no interruption in the work of Secretariat and Agencies this Government trusts that the reasons which actuated the Mexican Government in withholding its approval to protocol of 1927 may no longer be compelling and that Mexican Government will be prepared to sign a similar protocol at the time the conventions for the extension of the commissions are signed. Please informally ascertain views of the Mexican Government on this point.

From July 23, 1927, until September 7, 1928, no sessions of the General Claims Commission were held. This inaction caused considerable displeasure to claimants of both countries and subjected both Governments to unfavorable criticism. The failure of the Commission to function was due in a large part to the delay in appointing a presiding commissioner and to the absence of arrangements for the continuous functioning of the Secretariat and Agencies. It is to be hoped, therefore, in order to obviate a similar hiatus in the Commission’s activity, that the Mexican Government will shortly indicate its willingness to proceed in accordance with the suggestions contained in paragraphs numbered 1, 2 and 3 of this telegram. The Department will deeply appreciate it if you will bring this matter to the attention of the Mexican Government, emphasizing this Government’s view that it is vitally important to the interests of both countries that the proposals advanced by the Department shall be satisfactorily disposed of as soon as possible.

  1. Congressional Record, 71st Cong., 1st sess., vol. 71, pt. 2, p. 1899.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. iii, pp. 337340.
  3. Neither printed.