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

No. 3869

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 1189 of August 19, 1936, and to enclose herewith a copy of the note which I have addressed under even date at the direction of the Department to the Foreign Office with respect to the extension of the breadth of Mexican territorial waters.

Respectfully yours,

Josephus Daniels

The American Ambassador (Daniels) to the Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs (Hay)

Excellency: I have the honor, under instructions from my Government and with reference to the Foreign Office’s note No. 5470 of [Page 770] July 8, 1936, regarding the extension of the territorial waters of Mexico, to inform Your Excellency that so far as concerns the bearing upon this matter of the provisions of Article V of the treaty of February 2, 1848, between the United States and Mexico, my Government reiterates the views expressed in my note No. 1635 of June 3, 1936.

It is noted that the Foreign Office expresses the view that there exists among the nations no fixed rule for determining the extent of the territorial sea. However this may be (and my Government must not be understood as admitting that there is no such rule) it seems to be established that, generally speaking, the principal maritime powers have adopted the three-mile limit.

I am instructed, therefore, by my Government to reiterate the reservation made in my note No. 1438 of March 7, 1936, namely, that the United States of America reserves all rights of whatever nature so far as concerns any effects upon American commerce from enforcement of the presidential decree of August 29, 1935, which purports to amend existing law so as to extend the territorial waters of Mexico in breadth from three to nine nautical miles. I hope that Your Excellency will understand that in bringing this matter to the Foreign Office’s attention my action is not taken with a view to prolonging the argument with the Mexican Government but merely to make it clear that the Government of the United States is unable to accept the conclusions of the Mexican Government as set forth in the latter’s note of July 8, 1936.

Please accept [etc.]

Josephus Daniels