Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Cabot) to the Secretary of State 1


  • Mexican Migrant Labor Problem.

The United States position on the migrant labor agreement negotiations with Mexico has been that the urgency of an adequate solution to the problem has been so great we should either obtain all of our major points or control the migrant movement unilaterally. Legislation to authorize unilateral action has been reported out of Committee in both the Senate and House and will be debated on the House floor Monday, March 1.

After several months of fruitless negotiation, the Mexicans during the past two weeks have receded to a position generally acceptable to us on all but one point, that of border recruiting. Ambassador White feels that he has “squeezed all of the juice out of the lemon”. He has reached a tentative understanding with the Mexicans that the border [Page 1359] recruiting question should be referred to a joint commission for investigation and recommendation by June 30, 1954. Other lesser problems would also go to this commission. In view of the considerable success attained in the negotiations and the possibility of still obtaining border recruiting after the commission reports, we should press the Departments of Justice and Labor to accept such an agreement. This will have a beneficial effect on our over-all relations with Mexico and will be a salutary development in connection with the Caracas Conference.

An immediate problem arises out of the necessity of returning to Mexico no later than today some 35,000 workers who came here under the old agreement. Ambassador White has worked out an arrangement with the Mexicans to permit these workers to stay here pending the wind-up of negotiations for the new agreement. This will require a joint announcement today which will indicate the progress on the new agreement. Such an announcement has the one disadvantage of possibly weakening the chances of passage of the pending legislation, which, although probably no longer necessary for the immediate situation, is still desirable to have on the books for the long run.

  1. Drafted by Mr. Belton.