812.52 Agrarian Commission/113a

The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to the American Commissioner, Agrarian Claims Commission (Lawson)

Sir: There is enclosed for your information a copy of an aide-mémoire which I handed to the Mexican Ambassador2 on November 24, 19393 in connection with my conversation with him on that day, regarding the inclusion in the settlement by the Agrarian Claims Commission, United States and Mexico, of the claims of American citizens who were stockholders in Mexican corporations whose lands were expropriated under the Mexican agrarian laws subsequently to August 30, 1927.

In a conversation with me on December 11, 19394 the Mexican Ambassador agreed, conditionally, to the procedure proposed in the aide-mémoire. On December 30, 1939, he agreed to that procedure.

I would therefore request that, at the earliest practicable moment, you confer with your Mexican colleague on the Agrarian Claims Commission, United States and Mexico, with a view to making suitable arrangements for him to examine the claims as rapidly as possible with a view to determining their proper amount.

It is the understanding that the claims will be individually examined by you and your Mexican colleague and that you will endeavor to agree upon proper appraisals as to the amount of losses or damages sustained by the claimants in each case and without regard to the technical points regarding liability which have been raised by the Mexican Government, such as the status of the claims of American stockholders in Mexican corporations, tax assessment valuations, et cetera.

The purpose of this arrangement is to lay the foundation for a settlement of these claims for a total sum, as is desired by the Mexican Government, [Page 947] and as would be agreeable to the United States provided, of course, that such total sum were sufficient to cover a reasonable appraisal of the claims and not involve the scaling down of one class at the expense of another class or other classes.

Please inform the Department as soon as you conveniently may of the result of your conference with the Mexican Commissioner. As soon as this phase of the matter is adjusted the Department desires to make further representations to the Mexican Government with a view to the solution of such related questions as the adjustment of agrarian claims which arose too late for presentation to you prior to July 31, 1939, or which arose after that date.

Very truly yours,

Sumner Welles
  1. Francisco Castillo Matera.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. v, p. 659.
  3. For memorandum of conversation, see ibid., p. 664.