The Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs (Padilla) to the American Chargé in Mexico (Bursley)78

No. 51485

Mr. Chargé d’affaires: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note number 1027 of February 15, 1943,79 regarding the acquisition of gasoline in Mexican towns on our northern border by the [Page 456] owners of automobiles with licenses issued in the United States of America.

The Ministry has learned that among the various problems raised in this connection, the Government of the United States regards as particularly important (1) the evasions which, by such sales, are committed against the American gasoline rationing regulations, whose primary object is to conserve rubber, and (2) the export of gasoline from the United States to certain Mexican frontier towns.

In reply, I wish to inform you that in this matter, as in all others which have arisen in the present emergency, the Government of Mexico is moved by the deepest desire to cooperate with the United States. However, I believe that the concrete solution proposed by you—that, in said Mexican towns, owners of automobiles with American license-plates be required to turn over their American ration coupons—aside from the fact that it is legally impossible, in practice would offer no means of effective control.

In this respect, the Ministry believes that the rationing system, through coupons, is efficacious when there are no exceptions to its enforcement, for only in that way is it feasible to exercise due vigilance over the stores of the rationed article, and, in consequence, to punish every infringement of the respective regulations. When, as in the case in point, it is a question of limiting the consumption of gasoline to only one section of the public—American motorists in Mexican frontier towns—many ways would be found of evading the regulations; wherefore I think an effort should be made to find other means of action.

As regards the problem of the infringement of the said American rationing regulations, I am of the opinion that it could be resolved by limiting the importation of gasoline by American automobiles returning to the United States to an amount equal to or less than that carried at the time of entry onto Mexican territory.

In assuring you that in a program of this kind the American authorities may depend upon the full collaboration of those of my country, I avail myself of the opportunity to renew the assurances of my high consideration.

E. Padilla
  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Chargé in Mexico in his despatch No. 7817, February 26, 1943; received March 5.
  2. Not found in Department files.