The Director of the Office of Defense Transportation (Johnson) to the Chairman of the Car Service Division of the Association of American Railroads (Kendall)39

Dear Mr. Kendall: As of today the records show that there are on the National of Mexico Lines about 6,400 United States and Canadian railroad-owned cars. To this number must be added about 1,100 tankers and refrigerators.

You will recollect, of course, that at a conference held here on August 21 in discussing the exchange of cars between the United States and Mexico, it was agreed that Mexico should reduce her holdings of United States cars of all types to 6,000 cars as of December 1, 1944. That date was postponed until January 1, 1945, because of our approaching holiday season, when our car supply would be to some extent relaxed. That date is now rapidly approaching.

It becomes necessary then—and fully in accordance with our conversations and correspondence with the Mexican authorities—that controls be applied. This letter is to instruct you to apply the controls, hereinafter more fully described, on January 1, 1945.

There is being issued Amendment No. 2 to Service Order No. 107. The Amendments are:

That there be substituted a 30-day accounting period instead of a 15-day accounting period. The calendar months may be used rather than a 30-day period.

[Page 1275]

This order as amended relates only to railroad-owned cars and does not include privately-owned cars, that is, tank cars and refrigerator cars. You will furnish refrigerator cars and tank cars in accordance with instructions that will from time to time be given you from the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Office of Defense Transportation, and the same is true with respect to the movement of stock cars which are subject to United States laws requiring disinfecting.

It is estimated that there are as of today 7,500 United States and Canadian cars of all types on the National Lines in Mexico, of which about 6,400 are railroad-owned cars, the other 1,100 being tank and refrigerator cars. Having made this segregation, the number of United States and Canadian railroad-owned cars permissible in Mexico will become 5,000 instead of 6,000 cars. The instructions, therefore, by the Director of the Bureau of Service40 as provided for in the order are that for the present there will be allowed into Mexico during any 30-day period 80 percent of the cars delivered out of Mexico the previous 30-day period. For example, if during the month of December, 1944, 1,000 railroad-owned cars were received from Mexico, during the month of January, 1945, 800 cars may be delivered to Mexico. Further instructions are that this 80 percent may be increased 5 percent at the end of any 30-day period if during such period the railroad-owned cars in Mexico have been reduced 500 cars, and this will continue until the number of such cars in Mexico is reduced to 5,000. The interchange then, subject to further consideration, will be on a basis of 100 percent.

You will, of course, take into consideration the number of cars at the border and will avoid congestion there. The provisions of this order, of course, cover 30-day periods. Practical railroad operations might vary the deliveries to a greater or lesser amount from day to day, but the over-all average deliveries and receipts for 30 days will govern and be observed.

It is my understanding that there are some railroad-owned cars held under lease within Mexico by private industry. It is understood that these cars are excluded from the provisions of this order.

You will bear in mind that the National of Mexico some time ago requested that not more than 100 cars per day be delivered to that line, and this request has not been changed.

There has been a tendency in the past when the National Railways of Mexico was making special efforts to return cars to the United States to return them empty rather than loaded, even when loading was available for the cars in Mexico. That seems entirely impracticable, and, if a recurrence of this is observed, please bring the matter to my attention.

Very cordially yours,

J. M. Johnson
  1. Copies to Messrs. Carrigan, Campos, and Ortiz. This letter was quoted for the information of the Embassy in Mexico in instruction 6827, January 5, 1945, not printed.
  2. Homer C. King.