Memorandum of a Conversation Between the
American Ambassador (Clark) and the Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs
(Estrada), December 1,
I went to see Mr. Estrada this morning at eleven AM, by appointment.
After discussing the matter with Mr. Lane, I determined to take no
interpreter, but to use one at the Foreign Office. Mr. Casanova
acted as interpreter.
. . . . . .
III. Mr. Estrada’s statement:—In the course of
his discussion, he brought up the matter of an en bloc settlement,
and indicated that he thought this was a proper way to settle the
whole question. He spoke of a “global” settlement, by which I
understood him to mean a settlement with all of the countries,
because he said that if a settlement were made with the United
States, he could make a settlement with the other powers. In this
connection, he seemed to assume that the settlements would be paid
in the order in which they were made, since he observed that Belgium
had already been paid a considerable sum because they had reached an
agreement as to the amount due; that Germany would next be paid the
amount of all awards because that sum had been determined and that
the payment was extending over a period of five years; that if the
French were to make a settlement, they would come next, and so on.
The point that he evidently wished to make was that if the United
States did not make its settlement now, it would be postponed as to
the time or order of payment until all of the others who had made
settlements were paid.
Reply to Mr. Estrada:—During the making of
these statements by Mr. Estrada and thereafter, I brought up the
I said that I had suggested the desirability of an en bloc settlement
of these claims to Mr. Morrow and to the Department before Mr.
Morrow came to Mexico City in 1927; that an en bloc settlement had
always seemed to me desirable; but that neither Mr. Morrow nor the
Department felt quite sure that there was any real advantage in
I asked Mr. Estrada as to when he had in mind taking up the
discussion. He said immediately. I then, somewhat jokingly, called
attention to the rumor that he was to be married on December
10th;—he said the rumor was correct;—that he was to leave for New
York on his wedding trip on the 10th;—he said that was correct;—that
he would not return to Mexico until sometime in the first half of
January;—he said that was correct. I then said that it seemed to me
that it would scarcely advance the matter to begin before he went
away, since we would have to let the matter rest in abeyance until
he returned. He said he thought that was right, but that at least we
could be thinking about it. I told him that that certainly could be
done. He [Page 501] seemed to
manifest a real and rather anxious desire to make an en bloc
His observations regarding the time and order of payment obviously
raised the question of priorities. I did not deem it wise to enter
into any discussion of this matter, so when he spoke of our coming
in ahead of the British and French claims if we made an immediate en
bloc settlement, I said that probably the other governments would
object to such a preference for us and would insist that whatever
Mexico had to pay should be divided among the governments rateably.
Mr. Estrada made no comment to this.
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