840.48 Refugees/3673

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

No. 8175

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 8103 of March 8, 194320 reporting on my conversations with the Foreign Minister21 and the Undersecretary22 concerning the admission of Polish refugees into Mexico from Iran via India and a West Coast port of the United States.

This morning the Polish Minister, Dr. Wladyslaw Neuman, who has only recently presented his credentials called and I outlined to him the rather unfortunate situation which has developed here due principally to the lack of an organization to receive the first batch of refugees. I told him of my conversations at the Foreign Office and emphasized the preoccupation of the Mexican Government as well as my Government that no arrangements have so far been made for the selection of a site where these people may reside, much less for their housing or provisioning. I told him that I was loath to interfere [Page 266] in this matter but that following my conversations in Washington and my knowledge of the situation here, I felt I had an obligation since my Government has assumed some measure of responsibility in agreeing to financing the maintenance of these refugees. I said that I had reported to the Department fully on this matter and had recommended that a committee be composed of a Mexican citizen, a Polish citizen and an American citizen (possibly an officer of this Embassy) to work out the details looking forward to the reception of the refugees.

I found the Minister understanding and himself deploring the lack of organization. He attributed this to the departure of his predecessor and his recent arrival. I was somewhat relieved when he told me that it was his understanding that the first group of refugees had not yet left Iran and that therefore there was time to effect some sort of an organization and to carry on the conversations which must be preliminary to any definitive arrangements. He told me that immediately after presenting his letters of credence he had while calling on the Minister of Gobernación23 as a matter of courtesy mentioned this matter to him. He found that Mr. Alemán had no knowledge whatsoever of the expected arrival of these refugees but that after consulting with his undersecretary, the Minister of Gobernación said that it might be possible to place the refugees in either Guanajuato or Querétaro. The Polish Minister said that Guanajuato might be the better of the two places because Señor Ernesto Hidalgo, formerly chief clerk of the Foreign Office, who conducted the negotiations preliminary to the signing of the agreement between General Sikorsky, and the Mexican Government24 concerning these refugees is now a candidate for Governor of that State. The Polish Minister expressed himself as believing he would be the next Governor.

The Minister explained that on leaving my office he was going directly to the Ministry of Gobernación to speak with Mr. Alemán and that he would keep me closely informed of the results of conversations he may have there as well as with other officials of the Mexican Government.

I desire to emphasize that I will be very appreciative if the Department will give me the benefit of its precise instructions as soon as possible.

Respectfully yours,

G. S. Messersmith
  1. Not printed.
  2. Ezequiel Padilla.
  3. Jaime Torres Bodet.
  4. Miguel Alemán.
  5. Exchange of notes between Polish Prime Minister Sikorski and Mexican Foreign Secretary Padilla regarding the admission of Polish refugees to Mexico, December 30, 1942, transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Mexico in his despatch No. 6270, December 81, 1942 (840.48 Refugees/3508). For texts of the notes exchanged, see Memoria de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, 1942–1943 (Mexico, D.F., 1943), pp. 457–460.