811.504/1009: Telegram

The Chargé in Mexico (Bursley) to the Secretary of State

53. Reference Department’s airgram 939, January 15, especially paragraph 5. I cannot too strongly urge upon the Department the [Page 535] necessity for prompt action with regard to: (a) presentation of a specific program to the Mexican Government with regard to the recruitment of agricultural workers in 1943. (Plan heretofore furnished in Department’s telegram No. 1 as amended by paragraph 6 of airgram 939 appears satisfactory basis if) (b) immediate authorization for recruitment of substantial number of farm laborers is received here.

The Mexican authorities are confronted with an acute problem caused by the movement to Mexico City of about 4,000 workers who cannot be absorbed under existing authorizations. These workers, who are said by Mr. Brown to be of a type well qualified for our needs, create a problem in connection with their feeding, lodging, et cetera. Unless we can recruit a substantial part of these people the Mexican Government must expend money for their support or return to their homes.

While this problem is not directly of our making it is a political problem for the Mexican Government.

With no desire to be an alarmist over the situation I venture to predict that if we do not formulate our plans promptly we are in danger of collapse of the agricultural recruitment program. Brown shares this view particularly following statements made to him in the Mexican Department of Labor daily for more than a week, which have indicated that it is not interested in piecemeal recruiting of small groups a few hundred.