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

No. 3690

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegram number 97 of June 12, 5 p.m., 1936, and to my telegram number 93 of June 16, 4 p.m., and to enclose a strictly confidential memorandum of conversations I had yesterday at the Foreign Office with Ambassador Castillo Nájera, who is here for consultation with his Government; General Hay, Minister for Foreign Affairs; and Licenciado Beteta, Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs.

Respectfully yours,

Pierre de L. Boal

Memorandum by the Chargé in Mexico (Boal)

At the Foreign Office this morning I mentioned to the Ambassador to Washington, Mr. Castillo Nájera, the subject of our note 1634 [Page 736] of June 2, 1936,44 regarding General Claims arbitration. I told him that I understood that a note was in preparation which might possibly make some difficulty, although of course I did not know what was going to be said. I hoped it would be possible to reach a forthright agreement on the method to be followed, along the lines of the note which we had presented, so as to get this complicated matter proceeded with as soon as possible. I feared that counter-proposals, etc., would merely result in further complication instead of simplifying the problem.

The Ambassador suggested that I should take it up with Beteta and said he himself would take it up with the President when he saw him, to urge expeditious and favorable action; he said he would put it on the grounds that Mr. Welles45 had mentioned it to him.

After seeing Ambassador Castillo Nájera, I saw General Hay, and, having given him Ambassador Daniels’ acceptance for the Laredo Highway ceremonies, I also reminded him of the General Claims note.

The General said that a note was being prepared; that they had hoped to have it yesterday, but it had been delayed. He said he thought it would meet our views excepting one or two things not clear to them, on which they would desire to have clarification.

After leaving General Hay, I stopped in to see Mr. Beteta and we had a long talk of a general character, after which I brought up this matter of General Claims and told him that I had just spoken to General Hay about it.

Mr. Beteta said he was the one working on the case in his quality as a lawyer. He said that along most lines our note seemed to be quite acceptable in its proposals for procedure. One point, however, was not clear to them from the note, and that was in regard to the unmemorialized claims. He understood from the note that the proposal was merely to bring up these unmemorialized claims in order that in accordance with the Convention they might receive examination, but that it was not intended to do more than proceed with the formalities in this respect, which would really be just the legalization of their rejection. He understood that all these claims were based on insufficient evidence and if decisions were rendered on them they would have to be adverse ones. Accordingly he felt that while it was a very good idea to bring them before the Commission with a view to disposing of them finally through this procedure, the Mexican Government would not be favorable to any action which would result in opening these claims for extensive study on the basis of their being sufficiently valid and proved to warrant awards to the claims. He [Page 737] said that if his understanding of the note was correct, he felt that his Government and ours would probably be in agreement regarding the procedure and deposit of an omnibus memorial by June 30 by each Agent. He also remarked that his Department had not yet finally approved the reply to our note and therefore he was speaking merely to express his own personal views on the matter.

I am under the impression, however, that he and the Minister are already quite agreed on the reply in the sense of the foregoing.

P[ierre] de L. B[oal]
  1. For text, see draft printed on p. 731.
  2. Sumner Welles, Assistant Secretary of State.