The Ambassador in Mexico (Daniels) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 6.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch 5616 of November 2, 1937, enclosing a copy of a note from the Foreign Office regarding [Page 627] the Yaqui Valley agrarian situation, and to enclose a copy of a note left with Licenciado Beteta yesterday evening by Mr. Boal in reply to that communication.
In the course of the conversation on the subject Licenciado Beteta explained that while he had been under the impression that the President intended to have the Agrarian Department endeavor to have arrangements made between the American landowners and the agrarians for renting back the lands dotated to them until the June wheat harvest, he realized now that the President had merely referred to arrangements and he had drawn his own deductions as to the rental system.
Mr. Boal urged him to endeavor to have the arrangements made on a rental basis, pointing out that this was the current basis used in the Valley and that the crop-sharing arrangements under that system were all provided for by law in Sonora. He pointed out that the system provided that the renter pay the taxes, water charges, and other expenses connected with the land, so that the owner receives 12½% of the crop, net. He informed Licenciado Beteta that the representative of the American landowners had yesterday suggested that if rental arrangements were made under the auspices of the Agrarian Department, the American landowners would need to keep the greater part of their equipment until the harvest had been gotten in. The 12½% share could then be taken up by the Banco Ejidal and the proceeds used for the purchase of this equipment after the harvest. This would make it unnecessary for the Government to put out cash both to purchase equipment at the present time and to finance the ejidatarios for the preparation of the land and other work connected with the crop. Presumably those of the ejidatarios who now work for a wage on the land would thus continue to have employment, so that the question of tiding them over until the harvest might not arise in many cases. All this, it seemed, would be financially helpful to the Government, while the landowners would have an opportunity to make their usual crop before the lands were taken out of their hands.
In this connection, Mr. Boal pointed out that according to the representative of the American landowners many of these would prefer to have their pequeña propiedad, as offered in the Mexican Government’s note under reference, as non-irrigated land, thus keeping two or three hundred hectares, instead of one hundred. In that event it would be necessary to work out a rental adjustment which would not constitute recognition by the American landowners of lands to be dotated, since the amount and location of these lands would remain uncertain until the pequeñas propiedades of non-irrigated land had been delimited. Obviously, the Government would not wish to postpone the making of the rental arrangement until all [Page 628] the pequeñas propiedades had been measured, since that would involve a disastrous delay in the planting of the crop, to the disadvantage of all parties concerned. He also pointed out that there were few people in the Valley who made a business of planting and tending crops as contractors; that the regular farmers did not and probably would not do this; that those who did were not sufficient in number and had not enough equipment to take care of any appreciable amount of the land in the Valley planned for dotation. Under these circumstances the ejidatarios, if no rental arrangement were reached, would have to prepare the land, and it seemed likely that in the limited time remaining for planting a great deal of land would either remain un-planted or would be improperly planted and tended, so that the crops would be unsatisfactory, to the detriment of everybody concerned.
Licenciado Beteta said that he would discuss these points with the President with a view to trying to work out some arrangement.