The Ambassador in Mexico ( Messersmith ) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 20—1:15 a.m.]
491. The Undersecretary of Foreign Relations25 has just informed me that the Mexican Ambassador in Washington26 has been instructed to call on Undersecretary Welles without delay and to state that the movement of Mexicans across the border and who are being admitted by our immigration officials has reached such proportions that the Ministry of Gobernacíon is considering closing the border. The Mexican Ambassador was instructed to say to Undersecretary Welles that this movement of labor was contrary to the letter and spirit of the agreements which have been entered into through the exchange of notes between our two Governments and if this movement was permitted to continue the Mexican Government would unhappily be under the necessity of denouncing the two agreements and closing the border.[Page 553]
I told the Undersecretary how much value my Government placed on these agreements and how much it wished them to remain in force and the Undersecretary replied that this same desire was shared by his Government but that the Mexican Government would be forced to take the foregoing action if the movement of laborers was not restricted to the terms of the two agreements which we have entered into.
As the Department is aware I have consistently indicated that this was the only attitude which the Mexican Government would be able to take and there is no doubt that if this movement of workers is not stopped forthwith outside of the agreements, the agreements will be shortly denounced by the Mexican Government and the border will be closed to the movement of Mexican workers to the United States. The Mexican Government does not feel that it can take the risks involved to our relationships through the movement of workers except under these agreements, as the inevitable exploitation of workers outside of the agreements would force the Government to such action.