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

No. 9308

Sir: I have the honor to furnish the Department with some observations which are the result of compiling the figures available to the Embassy concerning the recruiting of agricultural workers for work in the United States in order to show the rather urgent need for further figures on estimated needs of agricultural workers for 1943, followed closely by a certification of these needs.

The Department’s telegram No. 1 of January 1, 1 p.m., estimated needs during 1943 at 26,200. Up to the present date the Embassy has received certifications of needs covering 23,200. There have been transported to the United States up to and including today 11,491 workers. This leaves a balance of 14,709 more workers to be recruited and transported in order to meet the total estimate of 26,200 for 1943. At the present time recruiting and shipping of workers are being carried forward at the rate of 1,400 per week. This means that within ten weeks or by the end of June there will have been recruited and transported to the United States all those workers covered by the estimated needs.

The Mexican Government has stated that it will be willing to consider the recruiting of agricultural workers to the over-all amount of 50,000 during 1943. It has made it clear, however, that it cannot consider any larger number because of the effect this might have on Mexican domestic economy and because of possible political repercussions. This should be borne in mind in any revision which is made of estimated needs of workers from Mexico during this year. On the one hand we may not expect more than 50,000 workers from Mexico and on the other hand we should consider that it would be unfortunate to require a lesser number of workers because this would show that there is not the urgent need in the United States for these workers which is a matter we have continually kept before the Mexican authorities.

Since the Department’s telegram of January 1, referred to above, stated that it would not be necessary to send workers to the United [Page 544] States during June or July unless further certifications are received, the recruiting of agricultural labor will automatically be suspended during July. It is the view of the Embassy that it would be very unfortunate if recruiting had to stop for any reason whatsoever because of the many difficulties, mostly administrative, which are involved in getting it started again. Furthermore, we have continued to impress the Mexican Government with the urgent need for labor in the United States and therefore the Mexican Government can hardly be expected to understand why recruiting should stop because of a lack of certifications of need.

In the almost daily conversations the Embassy has had with officials of the Mexican Government on the general subject of recruiting of laborers the Mexicans have pointed out the absolute necessity for them to have as accurate an approximation as possible of the estimated needs of both agricultural and non-agricultural labor expected from Mexico during this year for the Mexicans themselves are responsible for undertaking to have a supply of such laborers available for recruiting and they must of necessity gear the supply to the demand.

It would be appreciated if each certification of need sent to the Embassy for transmission to the Mexican Government could be accompanied by a statement that the number of workers in each case is included within the over-all estimate of needs for 1943. The Foreign Office asks this question each time a certification is notified to it.

I therefore urge the Department to convey the contents of this despatch to the appropriate Departments and Agencies of the Government in order that the Embassy may be enabled to supply the Mexican Government with the information requested.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Herbert S. Bursley

Counselor of Embassy