The Ambassador in Mexico (Messersmith) to the Secretary of State

No. 20,288

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 5252 of November 18, 1942,27 with which I transmitted a copy of a note received from the Minister of Foreign Relations concerning the establishment of a Railway Mission in Mexico to collaborate with the Mexican National Lines, and transmitting as well a copy of this Embassy’s note of the same date to the effect that our Government was prepared to collaborate in the form of such a Mission and outlining in the note the obligations undertaken by our Government in connection with the Mission.28 The Department will recall that prior to this exchange of notes there had been considerable correspondence between the Department of State and this Embassy and that in carrying through this exchange of notes the Embassy was following out the instructions [Page 1268] of the Department of State, which was working in this matter in collaboration with the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.

Under date of July 14, 1944, I received a letter from Mr. Nelson Rockefeller, the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, stating that his Office had for some time been considering the future of the United States Railway Mission in Mexico as established under the exchange of notes. A copy of Mr. Rockefeller’s letter is transmitted herewith (Enclosure 1).29 It will be noted that in this letter Mr. Rockefeller states that he believes that it would be advisable to consider the possibility of limiting the obligations of our Government under the exchange of notes to the technical assistance which the Mission can provide and to eliminate at an appropriate time, in the foreseeable future, the work which we have been doing in collaboration with the Mexican National Lines in physical rehabilitation.

I replied to Mr. Rockefeller’s letter of July 14, under date of July 20,30 and stated that I was in accord with him that the time had come when we should consider limiting the work of the Mission, so far as our Government is concerned, to the technical assistance which the Mission can give. I suggested that we carry out the commitments which we had made for physical rehabilitation for the third and fourth quarters of 1944, and as of Jan. 1, 1945 assume no further commitments for physical rehabilitation but confine ourselves as of that date to the technical assistance of the Mission. I said that, of course, any commitments which we had undertaken for physical rehabilitation during 1944, which were not completely carried through by December 31, 1944, should be completed in the first half of 1945.

Mr. Rockefeller was in agreement with this thought31 and it was agreed that at the appropriate time I would discuss such a change in the original exchange of notes with the Mexican Government.

During the early part of this week I called on the Minister of Foreign Relations and I set forth to him the reasons why our Government was considering limiting its obligations under the exchange of notes to technical assistance as of January 1, 1945. I went into the matter fully with the Minister and found him thoroughly understanding and he indicated that the Mexican Government would be in agreement with such an exchange of notes. I, therefore, told him that I would prepare a note in the sense of our conversation and leave it with him before my departure at the end of this week for a brief stay in the United States.

[Page 1269]

I have, therefore, prepared a note No. 3088 of September 21, 1944,32 which I will leave with the Minister tomorrow. As this note is self-explanatory, I am not making further comment. I feel sure that the Mexican Government will be in agreement with the terms of this note.

The work of the Railway Mission has been more than justified and the amount of money which we have spent for physical rehabilitation is only about one-fifth of the amount which we originally contemplated we could properly and usefully spend in physical rehabilitation. The cost of our participation in physical rehabilitation has therefore been very small as the records of the Coordinator and the Mission will show and the money has been most usefully spent and has redounded very much to our advantage in the war effort as well as being of advantage to the Mexican Railways and economy.

I think, however, that the time has come, in view of the fact that the movement of strategic materials from Mexico is becoming less important, for us to limit our participation in the work of the Mission to the technical assistance which the Mission can render.

When I discussed this change in the exchange of notes with the Minister early this week he took the opportunity to express the deep appreciation of the Mexican Government for the work which the Mission has been and is doing.

Respectfully yours,

G. S. Messersmith
  1. Not printed.
  2. For information concerning these notes, see footnote 88, p. 1234.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not found in Department files.
  5. Mr. Rockefeller expressed agreement in his reply to the Ambassador dated August 7, 1944; not printed (812.77/8744).
  6. For text, see Institute of Inter-American Transportation, The United States Railway Mission in Mexico, 1942–1946 (Washington, 1947), p. 89.