Memorandum by Mr. John W. Carrigan of the Division of Mexican Affairs
Commissioner Johnson of the Interstate Commerce Commission telephoned at 12:55 p.m., to state that he had given careful and sympathetic consideration to the airgram (A493—February 12, 3:00 p.m.) from Ambassador Messersmith, and that the decision reached was the following:
- The operation of the embargoes is being suspended effective now, and will remain in suspension during material improvement in [Page 1240] the car balance situation which must become evident within fifteen days;
- Messrs. King and Kendall will leave for Mexico by airplane, Saturday the nineteenth, to confer with Ambassador Messersmith and with all persons he may deem interested parties to this matter. He hopes they will be able to conclude their business as soon as possible, as they must be back as early as they can.
With reference to the first point, he gave me the following explanation:
- The actual rescission of the embargoes is a matter which would take some time to accomplish: apparently, it would require legal preparation and a certain amount of paper work merely to issue appropriate orders.
- He does not think the embargo should be withdrawn. He feels that it is wise to have it in the background.
- Consequently, shippers will still have to obtain permits for the railway cars to enter Mexico, but these permits will be issued without restrictions—during material improvement in the car balance situation. (This, you will note, is virtually the same as the rescission of the embargo of January 30, 1943, and places the Mexicans in a more advantageous situation than they have been in since that date.)
- He pointed out that he was doing this because of the Ambassador’s request, and indicated that he was glad this matter had come to the Ambassador’s attention because he felt that this was the only way in which improvement could be achieved. He referred to the second (whole) paragraph on Page 2 of the Ambassador’s airgram regarding the improvement of the car situation and remarked on the fact that while the situation was better than it had been in the middle of 1943 the car balance was substantially today what it was when the embargo was originally instituted in February of 1943 (this, by the way, is borne out by the National Railways’ own statements that I saw in Arnett’s office yesterday).
- He remarked that he was doing this on the basis of the Ambassador’s airgram and because of what the Department of State wanted, but that, aside from this, he hoped it would help the Ambassador in his negotiations on the workers.
I want to say once more what I have indicated before with respect to the Commissioner: he had said that he would be glad to do anything that the Department and the Ambassador wanted—in this instance he has really done more:
- He pointed out that this suspension of the operation of the embargo was not merely for ninety days, but was for so long as there were material improvement in the cat balance situation—in other words, indefinitely—and provided evidence of this improvement became apparent within 15 days.
I told the Commissioner that I was extremely grateful, and that I was certain you and the Ambassador would also be very appreciative of his understanding and cooperation.