Mexico Embassy Files

The American Ambassador in Mexico ( Thurston ) to the Mexican Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Torres Bodet )

No. 578

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to the Ministry’s courteous note No. 511053 of October 9, 1946, with further regard to the termination of the Military Agreement of 1943 between the Governments of Mexico and the United States, in which was presented the opinion of the Ministry that Mexican nationals residing in the United States should not be obligated to continue to render military service after termination of the Agreement.

The Ministry’s views on the subject were transmitted to my Government; and I now am authorized to inform Your Excellency that the law and policy of the United States concerning the drafting of aliens are contained in the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, as amended. Section 2 of that Act provides that, except as otherwise provided therein, “it shall be the duty of every male citizen of the United States and of every other male person residing in the United States” within the specified ages to register. Section 3 of the Act makes such persons “liable for training and service in the land or naval forces of the United States”.

Article 3 of the Habana Convention of February 20, 1928, on the Status of Aliens exempting foreigners from the performance of military service was not ratified by the Government of the United States and, therefore, in the absence of ratification, would constitute no obligation on my Government.

As to its position with respect to the drafting of aliens in the United States, the Department is of the opinion that no inference may be drawn from such nonratification, particularly in view of Sections 2 and 3 of the Selective Training and Service Act referred to above.

Moreover, as previously indicated, my Government regrets that it is not in a position to accept the view of the Mexican Government that under generally accepted principles of international law it is prevented from drafting aliens residing in the United States. For the same reasons, my Government is unable to share the views of the Government of Mexico that upon the termination of the Military Service Agreement of 194328 Mexican nationals are not obligated to render military service under the Selective Training and Service Act.

Accept [etc.]

Walter Thurston
  1. According to a communication of January 26, 1953, to Mexico City (136/145), the Department regarded the Military Service Agreement of 1943 between the United States and Mexico as having expired on October 28, 1952, 6 months after the United States ceased to be in a state of war, that is, April 28, 1952, at 9:30 a.m., Eastern Daylight Saving Time, when the United States instrument of ratification of the treaty of peace with Japan, last country with which a state of war continued to exist, was deposited with the Secretary of State.