The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the War Production Board (Nelson)45

My Dear Mr. Nelson: The Mexican-American Commission for Economic Cooperation has presented to the Department of State a “Minimum 1944 Program” of projects for industrial expansion. This list [Page 1204] was compiled as a result of a series of conferences which took place during the recent visit of Ambassador Messersmith to Washington and in which representatives of the War Production Board participated. The objective in mind in preparing this program was to furnish the appropriate agencies of this Government with an approximation of the material requirements of the 1944 program of the Commission. I am informed that the list together with the accompanying statement of the Commission has already been submitted informally to the War Production Board and also to the Foreign Economic Administration.

You are undoubtedly familiar with the background and objectives of the Mexican-American Commission for Economic Cooperation, and likewise with the economic problems which confront Mexico at this time. Additional problems will surely arise with the anticipated curtailment of our procurement program of strategic materials. The Mexican-American Commission is attempting through programs of an economic character to aid in the solution of these problems.

Therefore, the Department approves of the general program of the Commission for 1944 and recommends that the production and export of materials and equipment necessary for the various projects be authorized as soon as possible without interference with the war effort. In making this recommendation, the Department is largely influenced by the fact that a failure to make substantial progress during 1944 towards the realization of this program might have unfortunate political consequences in Mexico which would adversely affect Mexican-American relations.

The Department, while approving the program submitted by the Commission, desires to indicate that should circumstances arise in which other countries seek treatment similar to that accorded Mexico in the implementation of this program with respect to materials and equipment in short supply, they should be treated on a basis of equality if they have subscribed to and abided by the resolutions adopted at the third meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American republics at Rio de Janeiro on January 28, 1942.46

It is suggested that where the projects cannot be implemented now, they be approved and given a deferred rating status which will permit the production of the necessary materials and equipment as soon as possible. In connection with the suggested procedure of a deferred rating, I refer you to my letter of March 25, 1944.47

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It should be noted that a substantial number of the projects listed in the Commission’s program have already been approved and the materials and equipment scheduled for production. It is hoped that the remaining projects will at least be approved in principle by the appropriate war agencies and that adequate supply assistance will be granted as soon as practicable in view of the war effort.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. This letter sent also, mutatis mutandis, to Leo T. Crowley, Foreign Economic Administrator.
  2. For texts of resolutions, see Department of State Bulletin, February 7, 1942, pp. 117–141. For correspondence on this meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. v, pp. 6 ff.
  3. Not printed.