The Chargé in Mexico ( Norweb ) to the Secretary of State

No. 3289

Sir: I have the honor to refer to previous correspondence regarding adequate compensation for American citizens whose lands have been expropriated under the agrarian laws.

In a recent conversation with Mr. Ceniceros, Undersecretary of the Foreign Office, he, himself, brought up the question and told me that Mr. Suarez, Secretary of Hacienda, was still studying the matter. As the Department may recall, Mr. Ceniceros told the Ambassador that the Foreign Office hoped to have some proposal to submit to the Embassy shortly after the New Year and, in view of this promise and the Department’s wish that no further pressure be brought on the Mexican Government until the question of agrarian claims already filed with the General Claims Commission had been settled, the Embassy has refrained from pressing the matter.

However, as the Department has already been informed, no provision has been made in this year’s budget for the payment of compensation to owners whose lands have been or may in the future be expropriated under the agrarian laws.

In this connection, an article which appeared on February 12 in El Dia may be of interest. The article states that the campesino federation of the State of Hidalgo has petitioned the President not to pay the hacendados any compensation whatsoever for the lands expropriated from them on the grounds that to pay any compensation would involve the recognition of an enormous national debt and greatly retard the economic development of the country, and that, furthermore, a portion of this debt would be in favor of foreigners. The petition concludes by asking the President to take definitely the position of refusing to recognize the rights of the hacendados to receive any compensation whatsoever for lands expropriated for the benefit of the campesinos.

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As against this petition Excelsior of today’s date gave prominence to another petition from the hacendados in which they request the Government to issue them the agrarian bonds in the amount to which they would be entitled under the Agrarian Code,2 even though it was recognized that these agrarian bonds might be of little value.

Respectfully yours,

R. Henry Norweb
  1. Mexico, Codigo Agrario de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (Mexico, 1934).