The Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Castillo Nájera ) to the American Ambassador in Mexico ( Thurston )24

No. 511053

Mr. Ambassador: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s courteous note number 329, received at this Ministry [Page 990] September 24th last, informing me that, notwithstanding the fact that, in the opinion of the Government of the United States, the Military Agreement of 1943 will not terminate until six months after the conclusion of peace, Your Excellency has been given authority to declare it terminated whenever this may be desired by the Government of Mexico.

Your Excellency informs me, however, that the termination of the Agreement will not exempt Mexican residents from the obligations binding upon them under the Selective Service Law.

In this connection, I consider it necessary to point out to Your Excellency that, in the opinion of the Mexican Government, whenever the Military Agreement of 1943 may be declared terminated—whether dating from the cessation of hostilities or the conclusion of the peace—the situation should be governed by the generally accepted principles of International Law and, specifically, by the Convention on the Status of Foreigners signed at Habana on February 20, 1928,27 to which our two countries are parties.

Article 3 of the aforesaid Convention, as Your Excellency knows, reads as follows: “Foreigners may not be obliged to perform military service; but those foreigners who are domiciled, unless they prefer to leave the country, may be compelled, under the same conditions as nationals, to perform police, fire-protection or militia duty for the protection of the place of their domicile against natural catastrophes or dangers not resulting from war.”

It is true that the Government of Your Excellency signed and ratified this Convention, “with specific reservation with regard to Article 3 thereof, relating to military service by foreigners in case of war”; but from the wording itself of the reservation it is deducible “a contrario sensu” that, excepting in that case, that is, when no state of war exists between Your Excellency’s country and another or other countries, the United States accepts the principle that foreigners cannot be obligated to render military service.

It is the opinion of the Government of Mexico, therefore, that upon the termination of the Military Agreement of 1943 between Mexico and the United States the Selective Service Law cannot continue to obligate residents of Mexican nationality to render military service.

I beg you, Mr. Ambassador, to be so kind as to inform me if the Government of the United States is in agreement with these points of view.

I avail myself [etc.]

F. Castillo Nájera
  1. Neither printed.
  2. For text, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 815, or 46 Stat. (pt. 2) 2740; for documentation on the Sixth International Conference of American States, held at Habana, January 16 to February 20, 1928, and texts of the conventions adopted, see Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. i, pp. 527621.