812.5200 Cunningham Investment Co./55
The Ambassador in Mexico (Daniels) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 21.]
Sir: Referring to the Department’s instruction No. 1182 of August 8, 1936, 1 have the honor to state that I have again made formal representations for lands expropriated from American citizens under the Agrarian Law, and am enclosing herewith a copy of my note dated September 10 to the Foreign Office. In this note I reviewed the situation and pointed out that the proposal promised for last January had not as yet been received and that in the meantime properties of American citizens continued to be expropriated without compensation contrary to the Mexican Constitution. While informing the Minister for Foreign Affairs that my Government viewed the continued expropriation without compensation of the property of American citizens with deep concern, I took occasion to set forth the Department’s position as contained in its instruction No. 861 of September 11, 1935.6
Today I called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and urged an early response to my note and a prompt submittal of the long promised Mexican proposal.
The Minister assured me that he was still giving the matter his consideration, that he has increased the number of lawyers to whom he had committed the matter and would “do the best I can,” to quote his own words, “but I will make you no promises I can’t fulfil.” [Page 696] He then related how, when he undertook to comply with the agreement in the General Claims Commission, preparing the cases for its consideration, he found there were 400 cases that had not been touched and he was compelled to turn the work over to Mr. Flores, a very honest and capable man, who had worked very hard to complete the cases before July 1, 1936, and was now in Washington in conference with Mr. Underwood, the American representative. “Mr. Flores will decide what is just and right,” he said, “and make no claim for Mexico which has not a sound basis.”
I called his attention to the fact that the claims which were entrusted to Mr. Underwood and Mr. Flores representing the two Governments did not touch the matter of compensation which I had brought to his attention, and to the attention of his predecessor. I related the conversations I had had with Mr. Portes Gil and later with Mr. Ceniceros and referred to the latter’s expression of opinion nearly a year ago when he had stated that he hoped to be able to propose a satisfactory solution by the first of January, 1936. It was in response to my recounting this matter that General Hay said that all he could say today was that he would do the best he could but would make no promises he was not certain he could perform. He then said that there were “political complications,” but refrained from going into particulars. I understood by “political complications” that he lacked the power to act independently and that President Cárdenas was carrying out more fully the promises he and his predecessors had made to the campesinos for the dotation of land. The records show that President Cárdenas in his term of less than two years has dotated 4, 482,000 hectares of land, whereas his predecessors in twenty years had only dotated 8,143,360 hectares. El Nacional, organ of the National Revolutionary Party, praises the President for carrying out the pledges of the Party.
If I do not receive a written answer to my note of the 10th before my next weekly call at the Foreign Office (on Thursday, September 24) I will again urge action looking to compensation upon the Foreign Minister.
I understand that Mr. Castillo Nájera8 is coming to Mexico the latter part of this month. I suggest that this matter be brought to his attention so that when he is in Mexico he can acquaint the Foreign Office with the Department’s disappointment at the long delay in meeting its request for compensation. I could also talk over the matter with Mr. Castillo Nájera when he comes here. However, pending that, I will press the matter with the Foreign Office.