Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. William G. MacLean of the Division of Mexican Affairs 26

Subject: Regulation of Freight Car Movement Between United States and Mexico.

Reference is made to the memorandum of the meeting on August 21 on this same subject at which it was decided that the representatives of the Mexican National Railways would work out, in consultation with representatives of the American Association of Railroads, a definite procedure for the regulation of the movement of freight cars between the United States and Mexico and would submit it to a later meeting. Colonel Johnson called the meeting today to hear the report of the above-mentioned individuals.

Mr. Méndez stated that a procedure had been worked out and that it was based upon orders received from Mr. Ortiz, General Manager of the Mexican National Railways, to cut receipts of cars into Mexico to 100 cars daily, distributed as follows:

50 cars through Nuevo Laredo
20 Ciudad Juárez
20 Piedras Negras
10 Brownsville

He said that this was the capacity of the Mexican Railways to move cars currently and with dispatch. What shipments were to be included in these 100 cars would be passed upon by Mr. Campos as representative of the Mexican National Railways who would instruct Mr. Arnett of the AAR, who would then issue the necessary permits. Colonel Johnson stated that this procedure would no doubt be completely satisfactory to the American railroads and that it would be greatly appreciated, and Mr. Méndez said that the arrangements suited him perfectly. Mr. Méndez then reiterated that the Mexican National Lines don’t want any more cars than they can move currently and said that if trouble developed, they might ask for fewer cars and if everything moved smoothly, they might possibly ask for more cars.

It was then pointed out that the Mexicans should return an average of 130 cars a day in order to meet the December 1 date with a balance of 6,000 cars of all kinds in Mexico. In commenting on this, Mr. Méndez said that he thought it could be done and that it might even be possible to cut the figure lower.

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A number of suggestions were made regarding more adequate loading of ears and more stringent measures to secure prompt unloading. Mr. Méndez said that plans were being made to increase demurrage charges from 30 pesos to 100 pesos per day beginning with the third day a car is held.

During the meeting Colonel Johnson said he thought it would be very helpful if Mr. Méndez would call upon Ambassador Messersmith and discuss this arrangement with him. At the end of the meeting I took the opportunity to state that I was sure Ambassador Messersmith would appreciate a call from Mr. Méndez because the Ambassador had been following this matter closely and was very much interested in an outcome satisfactory to all parties, as those present knew. I also suggested, in commenting on certain statements made by the representatives of FEA that it would be desirable to refrain from referring to this regulation as a reason for denying individual licenses to Mexico. This suggestion was agreed to.

In general, the procedure is that priorities for shipments will be determined in Mexico City and Mr. Campos is to be informed of those priorities by the Mexican National Railways. Mr. Campos may also receive applications here in Washington, but in that case he is to forward them to Mexico for consideration and for inclusion in its orders.

  1. The participants in this meeting, with the exception of the absent CIAA representatives, were the same as those listed in the memorandum of the August 21 meeting, supra.