Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Mexican Ambassador called to see me today upon his return from Mexico. He told me that President Cárdenas had summoned him to Mexico City in order to talk over in general terms the world situation as it affected Mexico.

The Ambassador first said that President Cárdenas was entirely favorable to the suggestion of this Government that secret conversations between appropriate military and naval officials of the two governments should be undertaken in order to determine what precise [Page 136] measures of cooperation both governments could take in the event of emergency. The President had stated, however, that in order to avoid any publicity during the political campaign, he thought the conversations should take place in Washington rather than in Mexico City and that he would consequently send to Washington immediately as military attaché to the Mexican Embassy an officer who would carry full instructions. Subsequently the President had said the Mexican Government would be very glad to have American officers come to Mexico City if our military and naval authorities thought it necessary. The Ambassador stated very emphatically that President Cárdenas had charged him to say that in the event of any controversy resulting from any act of aggression against the American continent which brought the United States into the war, the United States could count on full military and naval cooperation from Mexico in addition to the use of Mexican territory and Mexican naval bases for American forces. The President of Mexico had likewise said that Mexico was willing to enter into a military alliance with the United States.

I told the Ambassador that this Government was naturally deeply gratified by the statements he was charged to communicate and that I fully agreed with the opinion expressed by President Cárdenas that the best procedure would be for the suggested conversations to take place in Washington. I said that I thought the matter was somewhat urgent and that I consequently hoped that for purposes of clarification the Mexican officer designated to visit Washington would arrive here in the near future.

The Ambassador said that President Cárdenas had been approached by the Italian Government within the last two weeks with an offer on the part of Italy to send to Mexico an aviation mission and a number of experts in chemical science, likewise to act as instructors. President Cárdenas had refused the offer. The President of Mexico desired to know whether this Government, after its own aviation training facilities had been sufficiently expanded, would permit a considerable number of Mexican aviation pilots to obtain training in American airfields, the figure mentioned being up to one hundred. I told the Ambassador that he might assure President Cárdenas that this request would receive most favorable consideration here but that I was sure that a good many months must elapse before our training facilities would be sufficiently expanded to make it possible for us to take so large a number of foreign pilots as students. The Ambassador said he understood this fully.

S[umner] W[elles]