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

No. 6490

Sir: In compliance with your telegram No. 65 of April 12, 1938, 7 p.m.,12 I telegraphed the Department last night (No. 115 of April 13, 7 p.m.13) that I had called at the Foreign Office to see General Hay,14 who said he would make an appointment for me to see President Cárdenas as soon as he could do so. He later telephoned me that he had made an appointment for 1 p.m. on Thursday.

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I stressed upon General Hay, as I had often done before, the strong feeling of my Government that lands belonging to Americans should not be expropriated without adequate payment. He said that one of the troubles that had been like a lion in the path was that if his country paid Americans, the Mexicans would demand that they also be paid and that the amount for the large quantities of Mexican land would be so great that it would be impossible to raise enough money. “But”, he went on to say, “there is such a spirit of patriotism on the part of the Mexican people in this emergency now that the Mexican claimants are voluntarily coming forward “and saying to the Government that they would withdraw their claims.” He said the instances of this character in Sonora and Torreon, which he related, would be followed all over the country, and, while it would take some little time, this renunciation of payment by Mexicans would become general and would be prompted by a desire to uphold the hands of their government. He added that this made it easier to pay for American property. He enlarged upon this thought and spoke in an enthusiastic way about how the Mexican people of all classes were standing by the President.

I will discuss again with Mr. Beteta, after I have seen the President, the agrarian claims mutter about which he has talked to Mr. Bursley.15 The last time I talked with Mr. Beteta he thought Mexico could arrange a payment of $500,000 a year (independent of any silver purchasing policy) to our Government. Whatever payment we can secure should, I think, be made to our Government in lump sums and we should undertake to settle with our nationals as we did in the Special Claims16 on which Mexico is paying $500,000 a year.

Respectfully yours,

Josephus Daniels
  1. Post, p. 747.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Eduardo Hay, Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Herbert S. Bursley, Second Secretary of Embassy.
  5. See Special Claims Convention, signed September 10, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 560.