811.504/984: Telegram

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

1001. Reference is made to the Department’s telegrams nos. 1 and 94 of January 1 and 18, 1943, respectively, and to the Department’s airgram no. 939 of January 15, 1943 regarding the securing of agricultural workers from Mexico in the present year.

Major John Walker of the Farm Security Administration has informed the Department that the War Manpower Commission has turned over to the Department of Agriculture the complete operating responsibility for recruiting and placing of all farm labor, and that this action gives that Department, and consequently the Farm Security Administration, the entire control over certification both for determining the need for farm workers and for designating the place from which workers will be secured, subject to the policies of the War Manpower Commission. He stated that the new arrangement made it possible for the Farm Security Administration to carry out the 1943 program or estimate for the securing of workers from Mexico as set forth in the telegrams and airgram under reference. He added that this would also permit the Administration to certify immediately the need for the balance of the 10,500 workers for “unspecified crops in California as set forth in paragraph 5 of the Department’s airgram no. 939, the certification of 3,000 of which was the subject of telegram no. 94.

Major Walker further pointed out that the new arrangement would permit prompt handling by the Administration of any future difficulties such as those caused recently in Mexico City when 5,000 workers caused disorders in seeking selection for 1,000 contracts then available, and said that this assurance could be given to the Embassy. It was stated to him that this statement would be given only to the Embassy and in confidence, because if the information were given to the interested Mexican officials it might be interpreted in the future as an obligation on the part of this Government to supply contracts for all applicants. He agreed with this point, and promised to keep the Department informed of future developments including the progress made in the next few days in organizing the Farm Security Administration [Page 538] to handle these increased responsibilities for the whole farm labor program.