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

No. 6493

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s strictly confidential telegram No. 1650, of December 14, 11 a.m., 1942,74 stating that it has endorsed and approved the recommendations of the mission of oil experts on repair and expansion equipment and materials needed by the oil refineries in Mexico, and instructing me to convey certain information to the Mexican Government.

The Department’s telegram under reference states that there is being sent to me a summarized portion of the oil mission’s report. The only such summary which I have received is a copy of a memorandum dated December 375 prepared by Mr. Thornburg for Secretary Hull, which reached me without any covering instruction, but I assume from a telephone conversation with Mr. Duggan, of the Department, that it is intended that the information contained in this memorandum may be transmitted to the Mexican Government.

In accord with the telegram under reference, I therefore left with the Minister of Foreign Relations, Dr. Padilla, today, a memorandum dated January 8, of which a copy is transmitted herewith. The Minister indicated that the Mexican Government would immediately give [Page 453] consideration to the designation of appropriate representatives to proceed to Washington to discuss with the Department of State the questions raised in the memorandum.

Respectfully yours,

G. S. Messersmith

The American Embassy to the Mexican Ministry for Foreign Affairs

No. 928


Some months ago, in accord with an arrangement between the Government of the United Mexican States and that of the United States of America, a joint mission of experts of the two Governments made a survey of the petroleum situation in Mexico with particular reference to the needs of the petroleum industry for materials for repairs and improvements. This mission has now made its report to the Department of State and the Department has endorsed and approved the recommendations of the mission on repair and expansion equipment and materials which, in the opinion of the mission, are needed by the oil refineries in Mexico. It has approved as well, in principle, recommendations with respect to some new plant construction and facilities to increase the facilities of existing plants. The necessary priority allocations will be facilitated by the Government of the United States towards this end.

The Department of State assumes that the Government of Mexico will discuss with the Government of the United States the question of obtaining competent American manufacturers, well-grounded in this particular category of work, to design and erect the equipment, and if necessary to train the operators thereof, in this manner assuring efficiency in the use of the machinery and equipment for which priorities will be sought.

While the American Embassy in Mexico City has not received full information concerning the contents of the report and recommendations of the petroleum mission, it is in a position to convey the following information with respect to the report, to the Government of the United Mexican States:

Producing operations currently require only maintenance and operating materials, but an expanded program of exploration drilling must be undertaken very soon to strengthen the fast-deteriorating reserve position. This is a very considerable undertaking and one which will require careful study.
The refineries further urgently require both maintenance and expansion materials in order to continue current operations and to fulfill the requirements which may arise out of the war emergency. The most important steps in the refinery expansion program which have been recommended by the mission are as follows: [Page 454]
Additions to the Mexico City refinery to raise the crude distillation capacity from 18,000 barrels a day to 28,000 barrels a day.
Installation of heavy oil cracking units of a certain capacity per day at the Mexico City refinery.
The mission notes that the Mexico City refinery operates on crude transmitted by pipeline and states that the enlarged plant in Mexico City will satisfy the full requirements of the central plateau, which is at present partially served by products laboriously and inefficiently carried by rail tank cars.
The expanded operations of the Mexico City refinery will yield certain products and gases which furnish the raw feed for the manufacture of high octane aviation gasoline. It is therefore considered desirable to install additional equipment for processing these raw materials into aviation gasoline in the amount of approximately one thousand barrels a day.
The mission notes that the primary distillation and cracking equipment could and should be obtained from shut-down refineries in the United States but it emphasizes that the high octane manufacturing facilities would have to be ordered from manufacturers with a delivery schedule integrated into the over-all program of the world-wide high octane gasoline plant construction.
The mission notes that the Mexican Government should arrange for the construction of these new units by established firms of United States engineers and contractors, which should also be charged with the operation of the expanded units until Mexican personnel can be trained to take them over.

The Department of State has instructed the Embassy of the United States in Mexico City, in transmitting the above-summarized portions of the oil mission’s report, to suggest that the appropriate Mexican authorities will wish to review these and in due course send appropriate representatives to the United States for discussions with the Department of State of their proposed arrangements for the prosecution of the work and as regards manufacturers and contractors.

While the discussions of the Mexican representatives will be with the Department of State, it is noted that when it will be helpful to have the aid of other United States Government agencies, the Department of State will arrange therefor.

The Government of the United States expresses the desire that the negotiations and conversations regarding the erection and management of the proposed 100-octane gasoline plant under consideration be carried on between Mexican and United States Government representatives. The interested departments of the United States Government in Washington, with this in mind, are already in consultation and will in the very near future be prepared to consult with the appropriate Mexican officials.