811.2222 (1940)/88

The Mexican Ambassador (Castillo Nájera) to the Secretary of State

No. 7563

Mr. Secretary: In connection with the military conscription law (Selective Training and Service Act of 1940) recently passed and especially in connection with Article 161 of the regulatory provisions thereof (Selective Training Regulations),7 the Mexican Consulates [Page 563] have been reporting to the Embassy that there is some lack of agreement on the interpretation which should be given to the said article. The law makes registration compulsory both for nationals and foreigners and, in so far as refers to the obligation of serving in the United States Army, it is limited only to nationals of this country and such persons as have previously manifested their intention of being naturalized. On the situation of the latter persons the Embassy submitted to the Department under Your Excellency’s worthy charge a memorandum dated October 2, 1940, which was answered by the said Department in a communication marked with the numbers 811.2222(1940)/31, of October 14, 1940.8

Both with respect to the nationals of Mexico who do not also possess the nationality of the United States, and those Mexicans who have not yet acquired* American nationality, the problem arises of knowing whether, as they are not obliged to render service in the United States Army, as the Government of Mexico maintains, they must, nevertheless, make the application referred to in Article 161 of the Selective Training Regulations (Form 351), to obtain permission to leave the territory of this country. The difficulty seems to lie in the fact that the said Article 161 makes no distinction whatever between the registered persons who are nationals of this country and those other persons who, having the same character because they have also registered, are nevertheless aliens and, consequently cannot be under the obligation of serving in the United States Army.

Assuredly the solution of this situation may be found in Article 324 of the volume on Classification and Selection of the same Regulations, which expressly provides that, in order to determine the admissibility or inadmissibility of the permit requested, the Local Boards which administer the application of the law are to be guided by common sense rather than by legal technicalities.

This Embassy does not fail to consider that the purpose of Your Excellency’s Government in establishing the requirement of the permit to leave the country is to obtain an efficient and immediate control of all registrants, although they may not all be precisely obligated to render military service, accordingly I take the liberty of suggesting respectfully that the proper Department of the United States Government issue specific instructions to the Local Boards to refrain from refusing to Mexican nationals permission to leave the country, whether they have or have not made their first declaration of intention, since [Page 564] they all continue to possess Mexican nationality as their sole nationality.

I shall be very grateful if Your Excellency will be good enough to advise me as soon as possible what decision is reached on this question, in order that I may be able to give the corresponding instructions to the Consulates of Mexico in this country.

I avail myself [etc.]

F. Castillo Nájera
  1. 5 Federal Register 3779, 3784.
  2. Not printed; it acknowledged receipt of the Mexican memorandum of October 2 and stated that the memorandum had been referred to the appropriate Department of the Government for consideration.
  3. This verb is in the present tense in the Spanish original, but English idiom would appear to call for the use of the present perfect.—Tr. [Footnote in the file translation.]