812.52–Agrarian Commission/104a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Darniels)

286. Embassy’s telegrams 386, December 1, 8 p.m. and 290 of September 29, 4 p.m. and despatch 9249 October 5, 1939.17

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With a view to forestalling further precipitate action in agrarian cases, you are instructed to inform the Foreign Office18 that this Government is greatly disturbed by the disregard by the Mexican Government of its explicit assurance given the Secretary by the Mexican Ambassador on November 10, 193819 that if further dotations of agrarian lands were made the Mexican Government would compensate the owners through prompt, effective and adequate payment. No explanation has even been offered for such action as that in the Dickson case where the lands were seized with the Mexican Government’s approval but without assurances of prompt compensation after this Government had pointed out that such compensation was expected.

When this Government exchanged notes with the Mexican Government on November 9–12, 1938, it was in the belief that the troublesome agrarian problem was at last solved. Not only did the agreement establish a procedure for determining the value of agrarian lands seized since August 30, 1927 and for paying compensation for those lands, but the assurance given the Secretary on November 10, 1938 by the Mexican Ambassador stated that no more agrarian seizures would be made without compensation. The Mexican Government has raised legalistic obstacles to the rapid settlement of the agrarian troubles which we all so earnestly hoped for a year ago and now appears not desirous of maintaining good faith regarding the assurances of November 10. We have no desire to reopen for discussion the merits of the controversy over agrarian seizures but expect the Mexican Government forthwith to observe the assurances given on November 10, 1938 with respect to all cases arising thereafter which are not before the Agrarian Claims Commission. The Department expects the Embassy to lose no opportunity to keep before the Mexican Government this Government’s position.

The Department has neither contemplated nor agreed to any waiver of the assurances of November 10 above mentioned. Moreover the assurances did not exclude American-owned Mexican corporations from their benefits. It is accordingly most important that there should be no further expropriations in the absence of simultaneous arrangement for the payment of prompt, adequate and effective compensation.

  1. None printed.
  2. The Ambassador carried out this instruction in his note No. 4051, December 6, to the Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State, November 10, 1938, not printed.