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

No. 9785

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s airmail instruction No. 3062 of April 20, 194318 (File: 811.504/2116) authorizing this [Page 549] Embassy to proceed with an exchange of notes placing into effect an agreement whereby Mexican non-agricultural laborers may be contracted to work in the United States for certain specified periods and to report that I exchanged notes with Licenciado Ezequiel Padilla, Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, on April 30, 1943. These notes make the agreement effective April 29, 1943 and accordingly recruiting of this type of labor may begin as soon as certification is received and the machinery therefor is set up here. I enclose a copy of my note19 and the text in Spanish of the Foreign Minister’s note will be sent by a later despatch.

I feel that the Embassy was particularly fortunate in having had the assistance of Mr. Arthur W. Motley of the War Manpower Commission who was here for ten days early this month in order to take part in the negotiations which led to the successful conclusion of the agreement. Aside from Mr. Motley and a representative of the Embassy the following assisted at the discussions: Sr. Manuel Tello, Oficial Mayor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Licenciado Padilla Nervo, Oficial Mayor of the Ministry of Labor; Licenciado Luis [Ruis] Cortinas, Oficial Mayor of the Ministry of Gobernación and Mr. Harry F. Brown, local representative of the Farm Security Administration whose experience in the recruiting of agricultural labor under the Agreement of August 4, 1942 was found most helpful.

The Mexican Government has given its assent to the recruiting of up to 6,000 non-agricultural laborers under this present agreement. It is possible that we may expect more when that number has been contracted. At the present time and until further notice such labor will be recruited in Mexico City. The Mexican officials are extremely reluctant to have recruiting take place elsewhere in the Republic largely because the recruiting process unless carefully scrutinized and controlled can easily be exploited by unauthorized persons seeking personal gain at the expense of the Mexican worker. Furthermore, the Mexican Government lacks competent officials who can supervise recruiting outside of Mexico City.

As I have stressed to the Department it will be necessary for the War Manpower Commission and the Department of Agriculture in Washington to agree on the important question as to what proportion of transportation space is to be allotted to agricultural workers and to non-agricultural workers, since both types of workers will be recruited in Mexico City and will proceed from here to the border. As soon as this aspect has been determined upon it will be a simple matter to arrange a recruiting schedule to synchronize with the transportation schedule.

It is, therefore, suggested that the Department may desire to make a copy of this despatch and its enclosure available to the War Man-power [Page 550] Commission. Copies of the individual work contract as agreed upon by the two Governments will be transmitted at a later date.20

Respectfully yours,

G. S. Messersmith

[For text of agreement between the United States and Mexico respecting the temporary migration of Mexican nonagricultural workers to the United States, effected by an exchange of notes signed at Mexico City, April 29, 1943, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 376, or 57 Stat. (pt. 2) 1353.]

  1. Not printed; it transmitted a letter and draft agreement from Paul V. McNutt
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed; transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Mexico in his despatch No. 9894, May 4, 1943.