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

No. 1757

Sir: Reference is made to your Embassy’s despatch no. 5056 dated July 16, 1937 in regard to the propriety and effect of taking up directly with the Agrarian Department cases involving the expropriation of land belonging to American citizens.

With respect to your first question it may be stated that the Department perceives no reason why the possible eventual espousal and prosecution of the claims of American citizens whose lands have been expropriated should be prejudiced in instances where the cases have not been taken up through the Mexican Foreign Office but have been discussed directly with the Agrarian Department.

As to your second question the Department informs you that in the absence of an agreement by landholders not to present any claims, their claims or rights would not, in its opinion, be prejudiced by the working out of a compromise agreement through the Embassy and the Agrarian Department. Such an agreement would presumably envisage the expropriation of a portion of the lands owned and no reason is perceived why the owner of such lands would not have a just claim for compensation on account of the land so taken even if a compromise agreement should be effected.

However, it would seem advisable in all expropriation and squatter cases for the Embassy to forward a note to the Foreign Office in connection with each case as it arises before discussing the case directly with the Agrarian Department, and to address such further notes to the Foreign Office as circumstances in each case may appear to warrant.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles