The Ambassador in Mexico (Morrow) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 16—3:22 a.m.]
312. That the Department may be informed I have the honor to report as follows:
On Monday August 12 I saw Secretary Estrada and pointed out to him the desirability of concluding the conventions extending the two claims commissions before the present conventions expired. As I told you in my 307 of August 9th,15 President Portes Gil is out of the city. The Secretary again promised to consult the President as soon as he should return.
Not hearing from Estrada on Tuesday, August 13th, I again conferred with him on Wednesday, August 14th, at which time I once more urged the necessity for a prompt signature of the conventions extending the claims conventions. Estrada expressed then a view which he has several times voiced to the effect that the conventions would be extended and that the mere date of extending them was more or less immaterial. Upon returning from this interview Clark telephoned Lane advising him that Estrada had asked Tellez to raise three points concerning the extension of the special claims commission.
- First, that he wished to have the extension of the special claims convention signed here in Mexico City.
- Second, that he desired an informal understanding that the future sessions of the special claims commission should be held in Mexico City.
- Third, an informal understanding that the presiding commissioner should be chosen in accordance with the Pan-American arbitration agreement of last January.
I understood Estrada’s position to be that the signing of the extending convention was not conditioned upon our agreeing to these [Page 446] three matters but that he desired to present them and if possible secure an understanding covering them.
Lane later in the same afternoon, August 14th, telephoned Clark that he had reached Tellez by telephone and that the Ambassador stated his instructions were to sign both the general and special extension conventions in Washington and that he had received a wire stating that his full powers were en route. Lane also stated that the Department had already advised Tellez as set out in the Department’s 437 of August 8, 6 p.m., that the Department felt it would be advisable to defer making a decision as to a choice of the presiding commissioner until the conventions were actually extended and that the Undersecretary had told Tellez that the Undersecretary apprehended no difficulty on this score. Lane also stated that Tellez had not presented to the Department the matter of holding the sessions of the Special Claims Commission in Mexico City.
A memorandum was made of the foregoing conversation between Lane and Clark which Dawson17 took to Estrada later in the afternoon of the 14th and upon which Estrada commented as follows:
- That he had that afternoon telephoned the President at Tehuacan on the subject of the general claims convention and that it was possible something might be done about this before the departure of the Ambassador on Saturday.
- That in Estrada’s instructions to Tellez he had mentioned only the signing of the general claims convention in Washington, it having always been Estrada’s desire to have the special claims convention signed in Mexico. Full powers to sign the general claims convention had been forwarded to Tellez but he had no authorization to sign the special claims convention.
- That, in a long telegram sent by Estrada to Tellez some time ago, Tellez was instructed to take up among certain other subjects the question of holding the meetings of the Special Claims Commission in Mexico City. Estrada observed that in view of the length of the telegram perhaps Tellez had overlooked this point.
Today, August 15, at 4 p.m. Lane telephoned Clark that Lane had seen Tellez and had told Tellez that we were agreeable to holding the meetings of the special claims commission in Mexico City and that Tellez had brought up the further point with reference to the Special Claims Commission, namely, that the jurisdiction of the existing Special Claims Commission should be modified to accord with paragraph “a” of article 2 of the Pan American arbitration convention, signed in Washington last January.
Clark and Dawson saw Estrada at 5 p.m. today, August 15. They informed Estrada that the United States was willing to hold the meetings of the Special Claims Commission in Mexico City. After reading the report of a telephone conversation between Sierra and Tellez of [Page 447] today Estrada dictated in the presence of Clark and Dawson a telegram the purport of which is as follows:
Accepting the offer of the American Government to discuss the details of the convention relating to organization, functioning, etc., you, Tellez, are authorized herewith to sign the extension of the special claims convention.
It would thus appear that whatever Tellez’s authority has heretofore been he now has authority to sign both conventions at Washington. Estrada did not mention and Clark and Dawson did not mention the point last raised by Tellez covering the modification of the jurisdiction of the special claims convention.
No answer has yet been received by Estrada from President Portes Gil regarding the letter (see our 306 of August 6 as modified by your 435, August 7) that is to accompany the signature of the extension of the general claims convention.
The President’s office telephoned at 6 p.m. that the President, Portes Gil, will probably return to Mexico City on Saturday or Sunday.