The Secretary of State to the Consul at Guadalajara (Winters)

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch No. 307 dated January 7, 1937,6 concerning the expropriation of lands in Mexico owned by members of the Newton family. In the final paragraph of your despatch you request to be informed whether, in connection with other expropriations affecting lands owned by American citizens, application for compensation for which was not filed within one year as prescribed by the Agrarian Code,7 diplomatic claims might be filed by the owners.

The Department considers that it would be advisable for all American citizens whose lands in Mexico are expropriated to make application to the Mexican authorities for compensation therefor in accordance with the requirements of Mexican law. This, it is believed, should be done even in those cases where the limitation on such application has expired. If any such claimants should present a claim before making application to the Mexican authorities for compensation, the Department would not, of course, refuse to examine the claim. It should be understood, however, that in receiving them, the Department does not obligate itself to do more than to give consideration thereto with a view to determining whether a valid claim exists and, if so, whether it should be presented at some early date as an individual case to the Mexican Government or held for presentation at a later date with other similar cases.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. Not printed.
  2. Mexico, Codigo Agrario de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (Mexico, 1934) p. 69; translation in Eyler N. Simpson, The Ejido, Mexico’s Way Out (Chapel Hill, 1937), pp. 757–808.