812.52–Agrarian Commission/271/7

The Chargé in Mexico (Boal) to the Secretary of State

No. 7858

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram 462 of December 24, 2 p.m., 1938,2 and to enclose a copy and a free translation of the DAPP3 release of a message sent by President Cárdenas to the Mexican Senate requesting ratification of the recent agreement between the United States and Mexico with respect to agrarian compensation.4

Respectfully yours,

Pierre de L. Boal

DAPP Release Dated December 23, 1938

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As the Senate can see, the arrangement which our Government has reached with that of the United States as contained in the above notes does not submit to arbitration the conduct of the Government of Mexico and Mexican legislation. The arrangement bears exclusively on the amount of American claims, and not upon questions of principle.

Attention should be called to the fact that the Government of the United States agrees that payment for agrarian expropriations need not be made previously nor even immediately, as it had at first claimed, but will be made subsequent to said expropriations, and in annual installments. I also wish to call the attention of the Senate to the fact that, despite the request which the United States has continued to make, Mexico does not commit herself to the suspension of her agrarian policy, not even for the duration of the negotiations.

[Page 655]

Pursuant to this line of conduct, the Government has continued to handle agrarian cases affecting the properties of foreigners, such as the dotations made in Los Mochis, State of Sinaloa, on the 9th and 11th of this month, affecting a total area of 228,343.40 hectares; and from Las Rusias and La Mariposa, Municipality of Muzquiz, State of Coahuila, which were made on November 20 and December 13th of the present year, affecting a total area of 13,270.68 hectares.

The above agreement between Mexico and the United States, although contained in a simple exchange of notes, constitutes a Convention according to the practices of Chancelry and the authorized opinion of the most distinguished commentators on International Law (Hall’s International Law, eighth edition, pp. 383–384, and the authorities therein cited), to which authorities we must have recourse since the Constitution of the Republic does not prescribe any definite form for treaties, requiring only that once these have been negotiated by the Executive they shall be submitted for approval and ratification to the Senate; in compliance, therefore, with this provision of the Constitution, I submit to the Senate, for its consideration and for ratification should it be deemed advisable, the agreement contained in the notes quoted above.

Lastly, I take pleasure in informing you that, as provided by the Constitution, I am addressing to the Chamber of Deputies a proposal that they authorize a special appropriation for the coming Fiscal Year, so that the Government may be in a position to pay the indemnities due the owners of lands expropriated under the agrarian laws, with the understanding that—pursuant to the thesis which the Federal Executive has firmly upheld to the Government of the United States—the appropriation will be used to indemnify both foreign and national landowners, so that there will be no discrimination against the national dignity and the principles of Law.

I renew [etc.]

Lázaro Cárdenas
  1. Not printed.
  2. Departamento Autónomo de Prensa y Publicidad.
  3. Exchange of notes dated November 9 and 12, 1938, Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. v, pp. 714 and 717.