412.11 Oil/137

The Department of State to the Mexican Embassy


Reference is made to the memorandum presented by His Excellency the Ambassador of Mexico92 to the Department of State on November 18, 194293 concerning the conclusion of a final agreement in relation to the matter of claims of American nationals arising out of the expropriation of petroleum properties in Mexico.

The proposals submitted in the Embassy’s memorandum have been given careful consideration, but more definite information is desired regarding the position of the Mexican Government in relation to the recommendations made in the joint report94 of Messrs. Cooke and Zevada95 with respect to claims against the interested companies.

[Page 586]

The joint report contained the following recommendations:

That the claimant companies remain liable on account of claims of the Government of Mexico for unpaid taxes and duties and for payments made for their account by that Government, and also for private claims against the companies pending in the Mexican courts on April 17, 1942; and
That the Mexican Government assume responsibility for all private claims against the companies instituted by private individuals after April 17, 1942.

It is stated in the Embassy’s memorandum under reference that, with a view to concluding a final arrangement with respect to the matter, the Mexican Government “might agree to release the petroleum companies from the obligations which the Zevada–Cooke award left against them” if the Government of the United States would be prepared to regard as included in the settlement claims with respect to the properties of certain companies not named in the Expropriation Decree of March 18, 1938 or in the joint report of Messrs. Cooke and Zevada. However, it is also stated that the proposed release would be applicable only with respect to such of the above-mentioned claims against the companies as are under the “exclusive” jurisdiction of the courts of Mexico.

In view of the fact that some, if not all, of the claims in question may not be regarded as subject to the “exclusive” jurisdiction of the courts of Mexico the proposed arrangement would appear to leave the companies subject to suit in the courts of the United States on account of such claims.

Accordingly, in order that the Department of State and the interested companies may be in a position to consider the proposals of the Government of Mexico with full understanding of their purport, the Department of State would greatly appreciate receiving a more comprehensive statement of the position of the Mexican Government in relation to the scope of the proposed release.

  1. Francisco Castillo Nájera.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For text of joint report, see Department of State Bulletin, April 18, 1942, p. 351.
  4. Morris L. Cooke and Manuel J. Zevada represented the United States and Mexico as experts to determine the compensation due the oil companies.