711.00111 Unlawful Shipment/Fritz Bieler, et al/17: Telegram

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

16. Your 6, January 8th. I called on President Cárdenas this evening at 9 and told him of the press reports mentioned in your telegram. I told him that I was certain that in view of his previous statements to me these reports must be based on erroneous information.

However, it has been reported that these news stories were based on a Foreign Office source and hence they had received wide circulation. He immediately said that there had been no change in the policy of the Mexican Government in this matter and that absolutely no war material of American origin would be allowed to leave Mexico. He added that on the day of my previous conversation with him he had asked the Spanish Ambassador to call and had informed him that regardless of what war material of American origin he might have bought or might buy in Mexico or in the United States none of it would be permitted to leave Mexico.

To instance the firmness of his policy he remarked that the Mexican Army had a number of old airplanes of American origin which they would be glad to get rid of but that he had consistently refused to permit their sale for two reasons. First, because it would not correspond with his Government’s policy of refusing to allow any war materials of American origin to reach Spanish hands through Mexico and, second, because he did not wish to permit its material so antiquated as to be dangerous to be sold for further use.

I explained to the President the circumstances attending the departure of the Mar Cantabrico and its small cargo. I remarked that it was reported that it might put into Vera Cruz although we had no confirmation of this.

The President said that if it did no war material of American origin would be loaded.

I remarked that in view of the extent to which today’s news stories had gone you would doubtless be questioned on the report of a change in Mexican policy at press conference tomorrow.

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The President asked me, in repeating to you the assurances contained in my 23334 to suggest that you tell correspondents that the Mexican Government had repeated to you today its positive assurance that no war material of any character of American origin would be shipped from Mexico to Spain.

I thanked President Cárdenas warmly on behalf of the President and of the Department for his attitude of friendly cooperation and he replied that you might rely on that cooperation which was one of his essential policies and which would be followed in the interest of both Mexico and the United States. I did not show him your telegram No. 6.

  1. Telegram No. 233, December 31, 1936, 9 p.m., Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. ii, p. 626.