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

No. 5588

Sir: I called today at the Foreign Office and had a long talk with Mr. Beteta about the situation with reference to the dotation of lands in the Yaqui Valley. I handed him a formal note, a copy of which I am enclosing herewith, which he read and we then discussed its contents. He said that he was rather disappointed that the situation [Page 617] was as I represented it and that the President had thought, since he had offered to give the Americans other lands, that they were satisfied. I told him that doubtless their courtesy to the President and their respect for him had caused them to seem to be satisfied and that they had not had the opportunity to present their counterproposals as they had desired. I told him that the Embassy had received communications from senators who had constituents who were affected by these dotations of lands and that they were very perturbed—I mentioned Mr. MacAdoo among others— and that these senators, doubtless, if the situation could not be adjusted or modified would send their protests to the Department of State and that unless some agreement were reached a situation might arise which could be very embarrassing for both countries. Mr. Beteta said that he appreciated that fact and that he would read my note very carefully. I told him that I understood that German and Mexican land owners, who were in the same boat as the American land owners, had seen Mr. Suarez, the Minister of Hacienda, this morning and that Mr. Suarez seemed very sympathetic to their suggestions, especially with reference to payment for tools, material, etc. and the giving of a longer time for the planting of wheat and the harvesting thereof. Mr. Beteta said he would take up the matter at once with Mr. Suarez and give consideration to all I had said in person and to the formal official note which I gave him.

Respectfully yours,

Josephus Daniels

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

No. 2486

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to the interview of this morning between President Cárdenas and the representative of the American landowners in the Yaqui Valley, as related to me by the latter.

Certain courses of action are understood to have been outlined to that representative, concerning which I desire to offer the following observations.

Regarding the apparent intention of the Mexican Government to dotate more than four hectares (from 5 to 8 hectares) of American-owned land to each ejidatario on the theory that the land is “temporal” (Article 47, paragraph II of the Agrarian Code) it may be observed that the Government intends to allow pequeñas propiedades of only 100 hectares to each American landowner. This would appear to [Page 618] present a combination of circumstances not in keeping with the Agrarian Code. Article 51, paragraph II, of that Code, provides that when the pequeña propiedad is in “temporal” lands, it shall be of 300 hectares, or under the circumstances described in the last paragraph of Article 51, it is to consist of 200 hectares. It appears, therefore, if the information reaching me is correct, that the lands which it is proposed to dotate are being classified in two different ways in the same decision, to the disadvantages of the American landowners and without following the Agrarian Code of Mexico. I am informed by the representative of the American landowners opportunity was not afforded him for presentation of his views and reasons in support of them.

The question of indemnification of the American landowners for their canals and other irrigation works (Article 54 of the Agrarian Code) on their property proposed by the Government for affectation does not seem to have been resolved. Likewise the question of equality of water rights on the affected lands and the lands it is proposed to give the American owners in exchange appears not to have been thoroughly explored.

Respecting the proposed evaluation of the lands to be taken and the lands to be given in exchange therefor, my Government strongly feels that there should be no dotations until the evaluations have been completed and that this should also apply in the matter of the payment for equipment, animals and other objects to be acquired by the Mexican Government.

In connection with the proposed dotation of American owned lands in the Yaqui Valley, it is understood that President Cardenas has approved the continuance of planting of wheat until October 30, 1937. Such plantings are to be exempt from dotation until the wheat crop has been harvested.

Apparently reliable estimates indicate that approximately only 30% of the wheat crop can be planted prior to October 30.

I am informed that since all of the wheat lands have already been plowed and irrigated at considerable expense, the owners will suffer great loss if they are not granted several weeks additional time for the planting of the remaining 70% of their wheat lands, and, of course, allowed to harvest the entire wheat crop. Moreover, it is doubtful whether the ejidatarios could be organized in time to plant the crop before the planting season expires. Thus, a greatly deficient wheat crop, with consequent loss to the national economy, is to be expected if the American landowners are not given the facilities they desire to complete the planting and harvesting of that crop.

Thus, in the interest of all concerned, it is practically most desirable that the request of the landowners in this regard be approved.

[Page 619]

It is to be observed that in most cases practically all of the financial resources of the American farmers in the Yaqui Valley are tied up in their lands, their equipment, and the preparations already made for sowing wheat.

As I have heretofore said to you, by direction of my Government, which is greatly disturbed over the taking of land from Americans, it urges that adequate compensation should be made both for lands affected under the Agrarian Code, and for the improvements on these lands prior to dotation.

Please accept [etc.]

Josephus Daniels