Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Mexican Affairs (Carrigan)

Ambassador Messersmith telephoned the evening of June 2, 1944, to refer to the question of United States railway freight cars entering Mexico. He referred to a telegram sent to Colonel Johnson by Ortiz of the National Railways asking for a short further postponement of action.

The Ambassador said that he thoroughly understood and appreciated Colonel Johnson’s position and agreed that something would have to be done if there were no improvement within a short period. [Page 1247] He indicated that the labor situation had developed very favorably during the course of Friday, June 2, and that he was very anxious that no monkey wrench should be thrown into the works at this particular moment. He made it clear that this control measure might prove to be a monkey wrench. He said he was absolutely sure that the labor situation had improved and he referred to the great improvement shown at all gateways where the situation has returned to normal, to the considerable improvement in motive power, and to the marked improvement in the “loss of car” situation. He said that a very unhappy situation could be produced for us out of this and expressed the hope that Colonel Johnson would be in a position to delay action for a short further period. He indicated that it was not yet possible to determine what this period should be. Of course, in the present situation with respect to labor, a delicate point had been reached which makes it impossible to determine just how good the improvement in the labor situation may come. The Ambassador asked that we take this up with Colonel Johnson and see what we could do. Pursuant to the Ambassador’s directions, this matter was discussed with the Colonel who this morning informed me as follows: (1) Control must go into effect immediately; (2) he really expected a telegram from the Mexicans in reply to his telegram and said that he would be very happy to control at their request, but that if he did not hear from them he would be forced to establish it as a measure on the part of the United States Government; (3) He said that he was anxious to be as lenient as possible but that his duty was such that he simply had to take action at this time; (4) he referred to the fact that he had made every effort to bear with this situation in Mexico and he said that he had borne with this situation, and that he was still disposed to help them as much as he could. With this in mind, he said that he was very willing to endeavor to effect this control on any basis that the Mexicans liked and that he would try to apply in the most lenient fashion that he could, but he said that there must be a control.

He asked me to communicate this immediately to Ambassador Messersmith and to ask the Ambassador if it would not be possible for the Mexicans to tell us immediately of their desires with respect to the operation of this control.11

John W. Carrigan
  1. On June 8, 1944, Antonio Vera sent a telegram to Commissioner Johnson listing nine import commodity categories in descending order of desired freedom from embargo restrictions; telegram not printed (812.77/6–844).