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

No. 2678

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a memorandum prepared by Mr. Lane of this Embassy with respect to remarks made in my presence by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Señor Genaro Estrada, [Page 497] giving his views in regard to the non-functioning of the Special Claims Commission, United States and Mexico.

In view of Mr. Estrada’s statements, the importance of an en bloc settlement being reached prior to the expiration of the life of the existing General and Special Claims Conventions28a should be emphasized.

Respectfully yours,

Dwight W. Morrow

Memorandum by the Counselor of Embassy (Lane)

At a dinner at the Ambassador’s residence in Cuernavaca on July 27th, Señor Genaro Estrada, Minister for Foreign Affairs, inquired of the Ambassador: “Why does the Government of the United States object to the Special Claims Commission’s meeting?”

The Ambassador having requested me to answer the question, I said frankly that if the Special Claims Commission should meet in Mexico and if the American Agent made no attempt to re-open the Santa Isabel case,29 it would be very difficult for the United States Government to answer to the claimants and their representatives. These claimants considered that their claim was one of the most valid of those presented by the United States. What excuse could the United States give to them for not endeavoring to re-open the case? On the other hand, I said, if the Commission should meet and attempt to re-open the Santa Isabel case, at a time when other negotiations with Mexico are pending, Mr. Estrada knew as well, if not better, than we what the result would be.

Mr. Estrada then said that in August, 1931, when the life of the existing Special Claims Commission would expire, at which time the United States Government would probably propose that the Convention be re-extended, what excuse could he make to Congress in requesting an appropriation to carry the personnel and officers of the Commission, when the Commission had virtually not been functioning since the early part of 1926? Mr. Estrada said that, of course, if the United States wished the Special Claims Commission to function, that would be another matter, but he did not see how he could justify asking for additional appropriations, or even an extension of the Convention, when such an extension was merely a meaningless formality.

It was then suggested that this situation would be taken care of if an en bloc settlement of claims were arrived at.

Arthur Bliss Lane

  1. Between the United States and Mexico, signed September 8, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, pp. 555 and 560.
  2. See ibid., 1916, pp. 650 ff.