The Department of State to the Mexican Embassy
The atmosphere in which the notes of November 9–12, 1938, providing for the adjustment of the claims of American citizens whose lands in Mexico have been expropriated since August 30, 1927, were agreed upon was one of seeking to avoid protracted discussions over technical or legalistic matters and of determining in an equitable and friendly manner to solve the problem confronting the two governments of bringing about a prompt and effective solution of the claims in question.
It is most unfortunate that any question of the interpretation of these notes has arisen for the Department of State understood that the solution agreed upon in the conversations and in the notes mentioned was the following:
The Mexican Government undertook to make fair compensation to American owners whose lands have been expropriated. The only questions for determination by the Agrarian Claims Commission were (1) that American citizens had in fact suffered losses through expropriation; (2) the amount of such losses.
It was hot anticipated that any arguments would be raised seeking to differentiate against any group of American owners. Moreover, it was contemplated that the Mexican Government would make appropriate compensation for the damages that American citizens had sustained, covering the value of the lands taken, plus improvements, and other losses.
It is strongly felt that the technicalities which have interfered with proceedings relating to the agrarian claims should be promptly eliminated. The Mexican Commission could study the claims with a view [Page 660] to determining their reasonableness. Should it be more convenient for the Mexican Government to do this, arrangements could be made to settle on the basis of the total amount of the damages to American citizens through agrarian expropriations rather than to have the Commissioners jointly state the value of each claim. A procedure of this kind for facilitating expeditious valuation of the claims would, of course, be predicated upon strict adherence to the spirit, as above described, of the conversations leading up to the Agreement of November 9–12, 1938 and the notes of those dates.
The United States Government could not accede to any scaling down of the just value of these agrarian claims or to any discrimination against any group of American claimants.