The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Agriculture ( Wallace )

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have received the letter of the Chief of the Bureau of Public Roads, dated May 26, 1936,15 in which Mr. Mac-Donald recommends that a sum not to exceed $250,000 be allocated, from the $1,000,000 fund available for cooperation in the building of the inter-American highway, to defray approximately half of the cost of a free bridge which Mr. MacDonald suggests might be constructed between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

While I appreciate the reasons Mr. MacDonald gives for making this recommendation, the situation is, as you were informed in my letter of May 1, 1936, that the Mexican Government has already been approached by the Government of the United States through the Mexican Foreign Office with offers of assistance under the $1,000,000 appropriation, and it has made it clear that, while appreciating the offers we have made, it requires no assistance from the United States, and it has declined to accept any assistance. Under the circumstance, therefore, and in view of the fact of the much greater need for assistance which exists in the countries of Central America which are at the same time desirous of receiving assistance from the United States, this Department does not intend again to approach the Government of Mexico with any further offer of assistance, and its attitude is that the portion of the appropriation of $1,000,000 for which commitments have not already been made should be expended in further bridge construction in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panamá. As you were informed in my letter of April 4, 1936,15 instructions to this effect were transmitted to the American diplomatic representatives in the countries mentioned on March 26, 1936, and Mr. James, in company with this Government’s representatives in the several countries, conferred with the officials of those governments with reference to the further assistance contemplated. This Department is now awaiting a report from the Department of Agriculture on Mr. James’ conversations, in order that an agreement may be reached concerning additional bridges which will be offered to the countries of Central America referred to.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
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