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

Dear Mr. Secretary: Time does not permit me to write at any length, in view of the fact that this letter must go off by Air Mail this morning so that it may reach you well before Dr. Padilla’s48 arrival on the evening of July 5 or the morning of July 6. While Dr. Padilla is going primarily on our invitation to discuss post-war problems, I am sure that the opportunity will present itself to discuss certain questions of major importance in Mexican-American relationships, and I think it would be very desirable if the President and you, particularly you, could have an opportunity to say something to him about petroleum policy.

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Under the best circumstances, the possibility for conversations between the President and Mr. Padilla will be limited, but I hope that there may be at least two conversations of sufficient length between the President and Dr. Padilla during his stay there, as anything less I think would leave Dr. Padilla with a sense of deception concerning his trip, and I know how valuable these conversations can be in securing for us the support of Mexico in these important world problems.

I hope that you will have, in spite of your many occupations and preoccupations, opportunity to see Dr. Padilla as much as possible during his stay, for I know how much he is looking forward to these conversations with you, and how useful they can be. He has the deepest respect and admiration for you and for our policies, and through this visit I think we can consolidate their position of collaboration with us.

If you have an opportunity to mention oil, which I hope you will, at least briefly, I think it would be well to emphasize the fact that we, under no circumstances, will make a loan to the Mexican Government or to Petróleos Mexicanos49 for the exploitation or development of Mexico’s oil resources. The President50 and Dr. Padilla here thoroughly understand this, but this idea must be established as strongly as possible so that the President and Dr. Padilla here, and the other sound members of the Government can combat these dilatory and negative practises of General Cárdenas,51 who is the one principal element now standing in the way of the development of a reasonable and constructive oil policy by Mexico. The President and Dr. Padilla are prepared to act along a constructive line under which American Companies can come in here under contracts with Petróleos Mexicanos on a sound and equitable basis. In desperation, and as a last measure, Cárdenas has raised this issue, that we are prepared to loan money to the Mexican Government, etc., for this purpose. Although I have conveyed the message here to the contrary, anything which you can say in Washington to Dr. Padilla confirming this position will be extremely helpful to him and to the President.

I do not wish to burden you with reading, but in order to not prolong this letter, I am appending hereto my Despatch No. 18546, of July 1,52 which I hope you will read, for I think it will be helpful in connection with the conversations which you will have with Dr. Padilla. [Page 1338] I would call your especial attention to the last paragraphs of the Despatch.53

Believe me, with all good wishes,

Cordially and faithfully yours,

[File copy not signed]
  1. Ezequiel Padilla, Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Government-controlled oil industry.
  3. Manuel Avila Camacho.
  4. Former President of Mexico, 1934–1940, whose proposed United States Government loan for oil exploitation would serve the purpose of strengthening the operations of Petróleos Mexicanos, thereby making unnecessary the return of private enterprise.
  5. Not printed.
  6. In the last paragraphs of despatch No. 18,546, the Ambassador emphasized the need for assuring Dr. Padilla that the exploitation of Mexico’s oil resources must be accomplished “in a sound way” and with no thought of a United States Government loan for that purpose (812.6363/7–144).