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

No. 855

Sir: The Department refers to its telegram No. 28 of February 9, 6 p.m., 1932,55 and to subsequent correspondence relating to the illicit entry of Chinese into the United States from Mexico. Since August 1931, American immigration officials on the American-Mexican border, particularly along the northern border of the Mexican State of Sonora, have been confronted with the problem of handling literally hundreds of Chinese who have illegally sought refuge in the United States because of the anti-Chinese legislation and agitation in the Mexican States of Sonora and Sinaloa. American immigration authorities have found that Chinese refugees could not be prevented by the usual imprisonment from seeking illegally to enter the United States as the refugees apparently preferred to run the risk of being imprisoned in the United States and being assured transportation to China, rather than to remain in Mexico. As a result it has become necessary for the American Government, at an expense running into many thousands of dollars, to deport these refugees to China.

During the present calendar year there has been an accumulation of evidence tending strongly to support the view that the authorities of the State of Sonora in their desire to drive out all Chinese have in all probability been a not unknowing party to the deliberate violation of the immigration laws of this country.…

The Department is aware of the practical difficulties which probably exist in the way of the federal government at Mexico City in adequately meeting this situation. These difficulties, however, in the view of the Department, do not relieve the Mexican Government from primary responsibility in the matter, even though such responsibility may be an indirect one. You have reported to the Department the transmittal of information on this question to the Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs but up to the present there has apparently been no reply [Page 840] received… The Department feels that the circumstances would justify strong representations to the Mexican Government with a request at least for a reply to those representations. The Department, however, desires to avoid raising an issue which might cloud the present good relations existing between the two countries or which might embarrass you in the very important negotiations which you are now conducting at Mexico City and, therefore, refrains from requesting you to make such representations unless you consider it wise and in the best interests of our country to do so. In the event that you should conclude that a vigorous pressing of the matter would be unwise the Department would greatly appreciate from you a detailed confidential report setting forth your views in the matter and your reasons for such views, together with any suggestions you may care to make as to how the situation might otherwise be met by this Government without violation of its own international obligations to the Mexican Federal Government. This report will be of great assistance to the Department in meeting the criticism which almost certainly will redound from the Congress because of the large expenditure of money that has necessarily been made as a result of this condition, created in Mexico, at a time when every effort is being made to effect economies in the Government.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Wilbur J. Carr
  1. Not printed.