811.504 Mexico/1–3146

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

No. 28,212

Sir: Reference is made to my Despatch No. 28,200 of January 29, 194683 … regarding illegal entrants into the United States.

I now have the honor to inform the Department that at my request Mr. O’Donoghue84 of the Embassy staff this morning called on Dr. Manuel Tello, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs and left with him an informal memorandum dated January 29, 1946, a copy of which is attached hereto.83 Mr. O’Donoghue discussed the question of these illegal entrants into the United States with Dr. Tello and there is attached a copy of a memorandum reporting this conversation.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith

Memorandum of Conversation, by the First Secretary of Embassy (O’Donoghue)

I called at the Foreign Office this morning and left with Dr. Tello, the Under-Secretary of Foreign Relations, the original of the attached informal memorandum of January 29, 1946,83 regarding Mexican nationals illegally in the United States. I told Dr. Tello that I felt sure he would recall the conversation we had had last year at the time the authorities of Baja California had closed the borders of that State to Mexican deportees and voluntary returnees from the United States unless they could prove that they had for six months prior thereto been residents of Baja California; I said that as a result thereof our Immigration Service had been returning a considerable number of such individuals to Mexico through the ports of El Paso, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona, but that even in such cases there had been difficulty in arranging for transportation over the Mexican lines to the interior of Mexico. I said that I recalled that some time this month the Mexican Embassy in Washington had protested or at least made representations to the State Department respecting the number of these Mexicans illegally in the United States and who it was desired should be returned to Mexico. I told Dr. Tello that there were more than 10,000 such Mexicans now estimated to be in the Imperial Valley in California where they were creating quite a civic problem; that the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service was doing what it [Page 1019] could to return these individuals to Mexico and at the moment was having some success inasmuch as the authorities of Baja California had requested up to 3,500 such migratory workers for the cotton picking season. I added that this was all very well at the moment but that when this cotton picking season was over most probably Baja California would once again close its borders and refuse to permit the return of Mexicans illegally in the United States.

I said to Dr. Tello that we had recently received an exhaustive report in regard to this question and that it appears there is practically no Mexican immigration patrol on the Mexican side of the border for hundreds of miles in the area of Baja California; that it is obviously impossible for the United States Immigration Patrols to carry out this control by itself. I said I did not know what the solution of the problem might be but that it had occurred to me that if the President of Mexico should authorize the recruiting of agricultural labor for 1946, it might be possible to set up a recruiting center near, but not too near, the border where many of these Mexicans now illegally in the United States might be brought for contracting and permitted to enter the United States under perfectly legal conditions.

Dr. Tello said that he has been for some time concerned over the existing condition and that as long as I had brought these facts now to his attention he would talk with the Foreign Minister and also discuss the problem with the Ministry of Gobernación which is responsible for the patrols.

I have no hope that anything constructive will result from this conversation but I do feel that it gives us a little protection in view of the requests which the Mexican Embassy in Washington will most probably continue to make for the return of these aliens illegally in the United States.

S. E. O’donoghue
  1. Not printed.
  2. Sidney E. O’Donoghue, First Secretary of Embassy.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.