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

No. 9313

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that there has been brought to my attention in connection with the transportation of Mexican workers for work in the United States a proposal whereby such workers would be transported in box cars.

At the present time such labor is being accommodated in first and second class day coaches. However, the coaches which have been made available for this purpose are shuttled constantly between Mexico City and the border with no time out for repairs. If in [Page 545] the future it is desirable to transport more workers regularly, it will be extremely difficult, I am reliably informed, to find any further first or second class coaches.

I realize that the above conflicts with the opinion in the Embassy’s telegram No. 288 of March 23, 9 p.m. However, Stevens original estimate that all necessary rail equipment could be made available to move these workers, should be revised because a closer examination of the situation does not warrant such optimism. The Embassy is watching this matter closely and, bearing in mind the circumstances explained in its despatch no. 9308 of April 15, 1943, is prepared to press the Mexican authorities for more equipment or permission to enter American equipment whenever that seems to be advisable. In this connection the help of Mr. Stevens will be invaluable.

In conversations where the matter of box cars has come up, I have made it clearly understood that I do not want the suggestion for the use of this type of transportation to come from any source within our Government. Frankly I see no objection to the use of box cars if the Mexican Government should propose it as an expedient and as a means of moving the labor at a future time. The matter is merely mentioned to the Department for its information in order that it may know of the stand taken by the Embassy in this regard.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Herbert S. Bursley

Counselor of Embassy