611.1256/1–2347: Telegram

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

u.s. urgent

87. For Guy Ray, Mexican Division, for immediate delivery to Under Secretary Acheson.

[Page 812]
Acting upon instructions conveyed by telephone by Mr. Guy Ray, I suggested this evening to the Minister for Foreign Affairs26 that a written request for our assistance in controlling and eradicating the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Mexico be addressed to the Government of the United States by the Mexican Government. Señor Torres Bodet informed me with emphasis that the Mexican Government would not and could not present such a written request.
I said to the Minister that I perceived although I did not agree with the element of “amour propre” that presumably governed the feelings of the Mexican Government in this respect and that I felt that the situation called for equal perception on the part of the Mexican Government of the situation in the United States. I pointed out that an intransigent attitude by Mexico at this time might well provoke active resentment in the United States and charges that the danger threatening our cattle industry had been brought on by Mexico in disregard of the Sanitary Convention27 and specific warnings based on the earlier violation of that Convention. I suggested accordingly that we endeavor to devise an arrangement that might achieve the results desired in Washington while meeting the views of his Government.
Señor Torres Bodet then drafted with me, in the understanding that the proposal is tentative and may well be rejected by his Government when it is laid before it tonight or tomorrow, the following suggested course of action.
The Sub-commission on Animal Industry of the United States-Mexico Agricultural Commission the first meeting of which will take place tomorrow afternoon and on which our representatives are Dr. Fladness28 and Mr. Don Stoops,29 should draft a joint report setting forth the facts of the situation resulting from the presence of foot-and-mouth disease in Mexico and recommending to the Government of the United States and to the Mexican Government that an arrangement be concluded for scientific, economic, and technical cooperation. Upon receipt of this report an exchange of notes should be effected by [Page 813] the two governments citing the report and indicating the readiness of each Government to engage in a campaign for the control and eradication of the disease through technical, economic, and scientific cooperation to be conducted under the auspices of the Mixed Commission.
It is the Minister’s thought that by this procedure the question of a direct appeal for our assistance can be obviated and that any reluctance on our part to proffer assistance or any impediment to such action would be overcome.
The Minister told me quite frankly that widely divergent views are entertained by the several highest members of the Mexican Government with respect to the methods by which the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease should be dealt with. I believe that those who are opposed to the slaughter method, which they assume we advocate, base their attitude upon the belief that that method would be resented and opposed by the owners of stock to be slaughtered with possible political repercussions and I suspect that these feelings are being fomented probably by the advocacy which we must assume is being engaged in by the Argentine and Brazilian veterinary experts in favor of milder alternative methods.
Dr. Fladness arrived this afternoon but has not yet been in consultation with the Mexicans. I have discussed the foregoing text with him and he authorizes me to say that he feels that the proposed course of action worked out with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and described in paragraphs above would be feasible although he fears that a joint report by the Mixed Commission could not be agreed upon and signed before Monday next.30
  1. Jaime Torres Bodet.
  2. For convention safeguarding livestock interests through the prevention of infectious and contagious diseases, signed at Washington, March 16, 1928, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 808, or 46 Stat. (pt. 2) 2451.
  3. Severin O. Fladness, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture.
  4. Assistant Agricultural Attaché in Mexico.
  5. United States-Mexican agreement was reached by exchange of notes of January 28 and 29, 1947, providing for a general plan of action; notes not printed. An exchange of notes of February 7 and 8 (not printed) was concluded with further reference to United States-Mexican cooperation toward control and eradication of foot and mouth disease.

    Public Law 8, an Act to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to cooperate with the Government of Mexico in the control and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease and rinderpest was approved on February 28, 1947 (61 Stat. 7). Public Law 22, making an appropriation for expenses incident to the control and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease and rinderpest ($9,000,000.00) was approved on March 27, 1947 (61 Stat. 24).

    By a United States-Mexican exchange of notes, March 17 and 18, 1947, a resolution was approved as constituting the basis of an agreement for cooperation between the two countries for the control and eradication of the foot and mouth disease; for texts of notes, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 2404.