411.12 Gomez and Rubio/82

The Mexican Ambassador (Puig) to the Secretary of State

[Translation]
No. 04374

Excellency: I have the honor to place before Your Excellency the case of the double murder of the Mexican youths Emilio Cortés Rubio and Manuel García Gómez.

I am constrained to apprise Your Excellency that, in the official judgment of my Government, as well as in Mexican public opinion, the fact that the men who killed young Cortés Rubio and García Gómez have not yet been punished can be interpreted only as a painful demonstration of lack of interest and sentiment of justice on the part of the agencies entrusted by law with administering such [Page 724]punishment, this lack of interest being tacitly tolerated by Your Excellency’s Government.20

On my part I deem it my duty to bring to Your Excellency’s attention the circumstance which I relate in the foregoing paragraph by virtue of specific instructions received to this effect and because the cultivation of the most cordial and friendly understanding between our nations is a cause of constant concern to myself.

I am convinced that no acceptable explanation can be gathered from the diplomatic correspondence exchanged between the State Department and the Mexican Embassy following the murder of the aforementioned two youths to exempt the American nation from international responsibility in this matter, although I take pleasure in acknowledging that both my Government and the relatives of the victims have received, in connection with these regrettable events, palpable demonstrations of courtesy and condolence from illustrious and prominent members of the Government and people of this country, which demonstrations have been duly appreciated in the proper spirit.

In previous cases and in its diplomatic and judicial policy Mexico has recognized the necessity between civilized nations of an international rule relating to the taking of life, which rule should be reciprocal, be respected, and guarantee the high esteem in which the existence of human beings is held.

I have instructions from my Government to say to Your Excellency that it considers the responsibility of the American nation in this case to be indisputable and that in its opinion it is in the light of international law that appropriate satisfaction should be given Mexico as a friendly nation.

My Government considers that the double murder of Emilio Cortés Rubio and Manuel García Gómez was perpetrated by North American police officers during the performance of their functions, they having made undue and careless use of their fire arms by discharging the shots that deprived the said youths of their lives, thereby evidencing their absolute disregard of human life.

The acts of these police officers place the American nation under responsibility to answer for their conduct in the terms of international law, in view of the negligence thus far shown in securing their punishment, this latter circumstance possessing a legal significance because it is a question of officers of an inferior category.

The bare mention of the time that has transpired since the date of the murders would be sufficient basis on which to establish future [Page 725]arguments as to the leniency that has been exhibited in procuring the punishment of the guilty parties.

The Mexican Government for the present bases its formal complaint solely on the direct responsibility of the American nation, but it reserves the right to base it also on the ground of denial of justice if circumstances should become suitable for this purpose.

I will also add, perhaps therein anticipating Your Excellency’s own opinion, that my Government will receive as a weak and ineffectual argument any consideration in which your Government cites the fact that the murderers are still being tried or that all the proceedings relating thereto have not been concluded, as exonerating the American nation from international responsibility.

My Government characterizes this argument as invalid in advance, for the very delay shown in the murder trials is evidence of apathy in the matter.

Neither can Mexico accept as reasonable any thesis that invokes the sovereignty of the State of Oklahoma, a political entity forming part of the American Federation, which is the entity with which Mexico is carefully cultivating cordial relations of friendship.

I will also declare in advance that Mexico declines to accept any intimation that this case should be brought, civilly or criminally, only before the American courts. The first point is one of civil liability on the part of the guilty parties, but this does not exempt the American nation from its own international responsibility, and the second course does not appear advisable in view of the fact that we already have the experience of a verdict of acquittal in the first jury.

In due time Your Excellency will be in possession of all the papers connected with this complaint, serving as evidence of the various aspects thereof and illustrating and supplementing it.

It is my personal desire to clearly impress upon Your Excellency’s mind the real conviction that, as Ambassador of Mexico, I am acting in this case as the faithful interpreter of the Mexican national conscience and of the legal opinion of my Government.

I avail myself [etc.]

Puig
  1. The second trial was in progress at this time, having been set for November 19. On November 22 the jury returned a verdict acquitting the defendants. (411.12 Gomez and Rubio/83)