812.52 Agrarian Commission/170: Telegram

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

Reporting following developments since arrival June 17th.

Preliminary discussions with Serrano revealed that he had not received definite instructions permitting him even to evaluate controlling stockholder claims. I requested him to obtain such instructions as soon as possible in order to avoid misunderstandings and further delay. Following his receipt on June 20 of instructions and by letter of same date I gave him additional data regarding claims including individual claimed amounts for consideration in lump sum settlement. He replied by letter of June 24 raising several questions in connection with his proposed appraisal. Also by letter of June 24 I gave him amount of appraisal by American Section. Copies of these three communications were forwarded by air mail today to Bursley.

Serrano estimates about one month required by his section for appraisal of claims. He proposes to leave for El Paso about July 6th with attorney to discuss matters of nature referred to in his letter of June 24th and involved in individual claims.

While Serrano has indicated willingness to proceed to appraise claims it is evident from his letter and verbal statements that it will be impossible for the two commissioners to arrive at an acceptable figure for global settlement. He has not indicated even a roughly estimated amount but mentioned a fiscal valuation of approximately 30,000,000 pesos. Having informed him of the amount of my appraisal, further negotiations with him at present could serve no good purpose. It is, however, still believed that the two commissioners would serve a very useful purpose by supplying their respective governments with independent appraisals which probably could be adjusted diplomatically particularly if considered in relation to other possible matters.

In view of the foregoing the following carefully considered recommendations are made for the Department’s consideration: That an effort be made in Washington through Mexican Ambassador to reach a global settlement immediately covering all points included in memorandum presented to him on April 9; that failing this every effort be made to insure payment on June 30th of additional million dollars pointing out that any settlement obviously will involve several million; that, if immediate global settlement not practicable suggestion be made to Mexican Ambassador that his Government request an extension to enable Mexican Commissioner to complete his appraisal for use in later negotiations; and that every effort be made to insure [Page 964] continuance of funds for American Section after June 30th in order that present reduced staff may be kept intact.

Since nothing further can be accomplished here at present am leaving by train tomorrow for El Paso accompanied by Winters.