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

No. 3965

Sir: With reference to the Department’s telegram number 144 of August 13, 5 PM, 1936,10 assigning Mr. William P. Blocker temporarily as First Secretary of Embassy, I have the honor to enclose a report submitted by Mr. Blocker regarding the progress of the work which has been entrusted to him of bringing up to date the 1930 survey of the agrarian situation.

I have the honor to suggest for the Department’s particular consideration the penultimate paragraph of the enclosed memorandum.11

I believe that in addition to the general usefulness of the statistics to be established as a result of the survey, it may be of considerable future value to the Department to have as complete and careful an analysis as possible of all the instances in which properties have been taken away from American citizens by the Mexican Government by procedure which does not conform with the Mexican law on the subject. The preliminary survey indicates that such instances are numerous. To be of value, however, each instance must be investigated [Page 701] carefully and the facts ascertained, probably on the spot, transcriptions of documents made and authenticated, and the whole case prepared so that at some future time the authenticity of the information and its completeness can not be reasonably disputed.

I am not unaware that the work requested of our consular officers in Mexico in connection with this agrarian study will be burdensome. At the same time, I believe that the carrying out of this work will provide these consular officers with information of value to them as well as to the Embassy and the Department. A priori, it would appear that a consular officer stationed in a given district and carrying on his work there from day to day would be in a better position to develop contacts with the public officials and American residents there and to obtain information such as is requested in this survey, than would be an officer sent on a special trip for that purpose by the Embassy. However, it is apparent that this was not the case in 1930. In many instances Mr. Lowry, proceeding on behalf of the Embassy, in various districts was able to obtain information which apparently had not been available to the local consular officer.

The replies to be received to inquiries which have now been sent out to consular officers in Mexico will probably indicate whether a similar situation now prevails or whether there has been some improvement. In the event that a similar situation is revealed, the Department may wish to give some consideration to lending added weight to the qualifications of officers with regard to this type of work in making selections for consular offices in Mexico. It may also wish to consider the results obtained in each consular district in connection with any future reallocation of consular districts or other adjustments designed to provide better coverage of distant parts of Mexico for consular work.

Respectfully yours,

Josephus Daniels
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed. The penultimate paragraph discussed expenses in investigating agrarian cases.