The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico ( Messersmith )

No. 688

Sir: As you are, of course aware, one of the principal subjects discussed with Dr. Padilla during his recent visit to Washington46 was the desire of the Mexican Government to provide for the construction of a high octane gasoline plant in Mexico, and as a result of discussions with him it was agreed that such a plant should be constructed as soon as the necessary equipment can be spared from this country. For your strictly confidential information, it may be stated that it now appears that because of the great demand for such equipment and materials for essential expansion in this country to meet our war needs, it will be at least one year, probably two years and possibly even [Page 526] longer before construction of a high octane gasoline plant can be undertaken in Mexico.

You will recall that in Dr. Padilla’s memorandum, transmitted with your despatch no. 406 of March 19, 1942,47 mention was made of a project for the construction of a high octane gasoline plant said to have been presented to the Mexican Treasury by a Mr. Pawley.48 Subsequent to Dr. Padilla’s visit it was ascertained that the project referred to in his memorandum was that of a Mr. E. W. Pauley.

Mr. Pauley has discussed this project with officers of the Department and there is enclosed49 for your confidential information a copy of a draft agreement which he stated has been tentatively approved by the Mexican Government and of which he sought to secure the Department’s approval. There are also enclosed copies of a memorandum of conversation with Mr. Pauley, and of a memorandum prepared by an officer of the Department, commenting on the project. It is believed that you will find these memoranda to be self-explanatory.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. Ezequiel Padilla, Mexican Minister for Foreign Relations, arrived in Washington March 30, 1942.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Apparently Edwin W. Pauley, President of Fortuna Petroleum Corporation, and Special Representative of President Roosevelt on various petroleum problems during the war.
  4. Enclosures not printed.