411.12/975: Telegram

The Chargé in Mexico (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

322. 1. Department’s 460 of August 29, noon. I submitted to the Foreign Office on August 26th the draft in English and Spanish of the convention extending the General Claims Commission which the Department sent me by air mail and which Mr. Lane informs me by telephone on August 28th had been accepted by the Mexican Ambassador in Washington. Sierra of the Foreign Office informed me on August 28th that this draft was acceptable to the Mexican Government except for article I which they desired to have in the same form as it appeared in the convention signed at Washington on August 16, 1927,32a with only the necessary change of dates which the new convention under negotiation would necessarily involve. After discussing the matter by telephone with Mr. Lane, I gave to Mr. Sierra in the afternoon of August 28 the following English draft for article I of the proposed convention accompanied by the appropriate Spanish version:

“The high contracting parties agree that the term assigned by article 6 of the convention of September 8, 1923, as extended by article 1 of the convention concluded between the two Governments on August 16, 1927, for the hearing, examination and decision of claims for loss or damage accruing prior to September 8, 1923, shall be and the same hereby is further extended for a time not exceeding two years from August 30, 1929, the day when pursuant to the provisions of the said article 1 of the convention concluded between the two Governments on August 16, 1927, the functions of the said Commission would terminate in respect of such claims and that during such extended term the Commission shall also be bound to hear, examine and decide all claims for loss or damage accruing between September 8, 1923, and August 30, 1927, inclusive and filed with the Commission not later than August 30, 1927.

It is agreed that nothing contained in this article shall in any wise alter or extend the time originally fixed in the said convention of [Page 459] September 8, 1923, for the presentation of claims to the Commission or confer upon the Commission any jurisdiction over any claim for loss or damage accruing subsequent to August 30, 1927.”

Mr. Sierra stated that the article in this form was acceptable to his Government.

2. My 321 of August 29, 5 p.m.33 Sierra informed me on August 29, that Estrada would sign the convention on Monday morning September 2nd at 11 o’clock. There could be no question of a misunderstanding on the part of the Foreign Office in regard to our desire that the signature of the new convention take place before the old convention expired as this had been made clear on repeated occasions by Ambassador Morrow and since his departure by me. I discussed this point with Mr. Lane by telephone this morning and subsequently talked to Sierra again explaining the views of the Department and asking if as a favor the Mexican Government would not agree to signature today. Sierra took the question up with Estrada and later informed me that the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs had instructed him to say it would be impossible for the signature to take place today for “material reasons.” Sierra then vaguely explained that Estrada had been unable to see the President and intimated that his full powers had not been signed. I communicated this intelligence to Mr. Lane by telephone. Unless otherwise instructed I shall therefore proceed to signature of the new convention on Monday morning, September 2nd at 11 o’clock.