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

No. 3271

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegram No. 23 of February 4, 8 p.m. instructing me that the informal discussion of agrarian claims filed with the General Claims Commission as provided for in the Protocol of April 24, 1934 must be terminated as of February first.

In accordance with this instruction, a letter was today handed to Mr. Sierra, a copy of which is enclosed herewith. Mr. Sierra intimated that he had expected the American Government to terminate the informal discussions as of February first from our Memorandum handed to him on January 21 and added that he did not consider that the termination of the negotiations would have an important bearing on the question of agrarian claims.

Respectfully yours,

Josephus Daniels

The American Ambassador (Daniels) to the Chief of the Department of Political Affairs, Mexican Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Sierra)

My Dear Mr. Sierra: I have the honor to refer to the Memorandum which I handed you on January 21, 1936, the last paragraph of which reads as follows:

“Representatives of the American Government were sent to Mexico City in April, 1935, and remained in Mexico for more than four months but were unable to reach an agreement with their Mexican colleagues. Following their departure the negotiations were continued by the American Ambassador. Nine months have, therefore, elapsed since the negotiations were initiated and it seems fair to assume that this constitutes a reasonable length of time for the drawing up of a protocol were an agreement possible. Because of the fact that the time within which memorials may be filed under the Protocol of 1934 is [Page 758] fast disappearing, the American Agent, in the event that an agreement is not reached by February 1, 1936, will be instructed to proceed with the filing of memorials in the agrarian claims.”

Although my Government feels that it has gone very far in an effort to accommodate itself to the Mexican Government’s position, nevertheless, the informal discussions provided for in the Protocol of 1934, which have now been carried on for more than nine months, would seem to show that no agreement can be reached and my Government must, therefore, regard the negotiations terminated as of February 1 this year, the date on which the American Agent was instructed to file memorials with the General Claims Commission. It would seem that nine and a half months of negotiations should provide an ample length of time for arriving at an agreement, were an agreement possible. Memorials will, therefore, be filed in the agrarian claims in order that the cases may be proceeded with under the terms of the Protocol of 1934 and the Convention of 1923 as extended.

Nevertheless, if the Mexican Government has any definite offer of settlement to present, it will be given most careful consideration, it being understood, however, that the termination of the “informal discussion” provided for in the Protocol of 1934 is not deemed affected by the presentation by the Mexican Government or consideration by the American Government of any further proposals, unless an agreement should happily be reached.

I cannot terminate our informal discussions without expressing my deep regret that it has not been possible for us to reach an agreement satisfactory to our respective Governments.

Very sincerely yours,

Josephus Daniels