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Mexican Government and this course of action is being carried out with a determination to meet its international obligations, that Government will have the support of the United States. I cannot go into the details of the many cases which Mr. Sheffield has taken up with the Mexican Government but they will be worked out as rapidly as possible.
I have seen the statements published in the press that another revolutionary movement may be impending in Mexico. I very much hope this is not true. This Government's attitude toward Mexico and toward threatened revolutionary movements was clearly set forth in 1923 when there was such a movement threatening the constituted Government of that country,16 which had entered into solemn engagements with this Government and was making an effort to meet those obligations at home and abroad. The attitude taken by this Government at that time has since been maintained and it is now the policy of this Government to use its influence and lend its support in behalf of stability and orderly constitutional procedure, but it should be made clear that this Government will continue to support the Government in Mexico only so long as it protects American lives and American rights and complies with its international engagements and obligations. The Government of Mexico is now on trial before the world. We have the greatest interest in the stability, prosperity and independence of Mexico. We have been patient and realize, of course, that it takes time to bring about a stable government but we cannot countenance violation of her obligations and failure to protect American citizens."
The above is telegraphed to you for your information and guidance and for informal communication to the Mexican Foreign Office.
Statement Issued to the Press by President Calles on June 14, 1925 17
Declarations of the State Department have been published in which Mr. Kellogg, answering some questions relating to the visit of Ambassador Sheffield to said department, affirms that some properties of American citizens have been illegally taken in Mexico for which no compensation has been made and in one instance taken by the Mexican Government on account of unreasonable demands of labor. At the same time he refers to the Joint Claims Commissions stating that he is convinced that the Mexican Government wishes to comply with the conventions and indemnify for the properties taken from American citizens; that he has seen the statements published in the press that another revolutionary movement may be impending in Mexico and that the Department of State very much hopes this is not true, the attitude of said department being to use its influence
See Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. 11, pp. 567 ff; also ibid., 1924, vol. 11, pp. 428 ff. 17 Reprinted from the New York Times of June 15, 1925.
and lend its support in behalf of stability and orderly constitutional procedure in Mexico, but it makes clear that the American Government will continue to support the Government in Mexico only so long as it protects American lives and American rights and complies with its internal engagements and obligations. He adds that the Government of Mexico is now on trial before the world.
It is a duty for my Government to rectify said statements as required by truth and justice. The best proof that Mexico is willing to comply with her international obligations and to protect the life and interests of foreigners lies in the fact that although, according to international law, she was not bound to do it, she invited all the nations whose citizens or subjects might have suffered damages through acts executed during the political upheavals that have taken place in the country with a view to conclude with them a convention to establish joint commissions that might consider said damages in order to grant due indemnizations. Besides that another convention was entered into with the United States to adjust claims of citizens of both countries against the other and in said convention are included all cases in which properties or rights might have been affected in disagreement with the Mexican laws. Therefore, so long as the aforesaid commissions do not adjust the cases submitted to their decision, it is irrelevant to charge Mexico with failure to protect American interests and violation of her international obligations.
The application of the Agrarian laws cannot be a subject of complaint because Mexico has issued them in the exercise of her sovereignty, and apart from that the State Department, in behalf of the American citizens, has accepted the form of indemnization prescribed by Mexican laws.
It is to be regretted the contradiction found in Mr. Kellogg's statement, when he declared that the United States have the greatest interest in the maintenance of order in Mexico and in the stability of her Government and at the same time stated that he had seen news of revolutionary movements since this last affirmation, tends to cast some alarm in the world in regard to the conditions of my country. And finally the statement that the Government of the United States will continue to support the Government of Mexico only so long as it protects American interests and lives and complies with its international engagements and obligations embodies a threat to the sovereignty of Mexico that she cannot overlook and rejects with all energy because she does not accord to any foreign country the right to intervene in any form in her domestic affairs nor is she disposed to subordinate her international relations to the exigencies of another country.
The statement under reference affirms also that the American Ambassador has succeeded in protecting American as well as foreign interests, and if he has thus succeeded he has no right to charge Mexico with failure to protect said interests, and attention should be called to the fact that said Ambassador does not represent any other foreigners but his own fellow citizens, and Mexico could not admit that without her previous authorization the American Ambassador should act in behalf of persons or interests alien to those of his country.
If the Government of Mexico, as affirmed, is now on trial before the world, such is the case with the Government of the United States as well as those of other countries. But if it is to be understood that Mexico is on trial in the guise of a dependant, my Government absolutely rejects with energy such imputation, which in essence would only mean an insult.
To conclude, I declare that my Government, conscious of the obligations imposed by international law, is determined to comply with them, and therefore to extend due protection to the lives and interests of foreigners; that it only accepts and hopes to receive the help and support of all the other countries based on a sincere and loyal cooperation and according to the invariable practice of international friendship, but in no way it shall admit that a Government of any nation may pretend to create a privileged situation for its nationals in the country, nor shall it either accept any foreign interference contrary to the rights and sovereignty of Mexico.
The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Mexico (Schoenfeld)
WASHINGTON, June 15, 1925—6 p. m. 133. The following is for your information and guidance: The Secretary's statement will be allowed to stand. The Department will make no supplementary comment for publication. It does not consider making a retort to the reply of President Calles.
When Ambassador Téllez called at the Department this morning it was pointed out to him that the Secretary's statement should tend to augment the position of President Calles. It was also stated that although President Calles' interpretation of the Secretary's statement and his retort were matters of surprise and regret to the Department, nevertheless, the Secretary would not recede from his position. Ambassador Téllez expressed his belief that the Secretary's statement need not be regarded as antagonistic to President Calles personally, and he said he would inform his Government in that sense.
The attention of the Ambassador was invited in a cursory way to the large number of vexatious and longstanding cases still awaiting satisfactory disposition, and to other features of the Mexican situation, and the impression was conveyed to him that the attitude of this Government towards his Government was no different from the one which we would assume toward any Government which might treat American interests with contumely. It was intended that the conversation should contain the implication that unless the Government of Mexico saw to it that a fair deal was given to Americans and American interests it could hardly expect continued encouragement by our Government and without a logical quid pro quo of satisfactory treatment it could not reasonably look for countenance and support.
The Department hopes that after the initial excitement has subsided and that after the rallying of dissenting groups around President Calles, in view of the fancied threat of foreign interference, has ceased, the point of the statement of June 12 will make an impression, and that the better and more conservative elements of the Government will endeavor to support President Calles in carrying out a program which was so auspiciously inaugurated but which unfortunately has been deviated from.
REPRESENTATIONS BY THE UNITED STATES AGAINST MEXICAN AGRARIAN AND PETROLEUM LEGISLATION
The Chargé in Mexico (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State No. 1178
MEXICO, October 2, 1925.
SIR: Referring to recent correspondence 18 regarding the announcement made by the President of the Republic in his message to Congress on September 1, last, of the forthcoming introduction of a bill regulating the ownership of property in this country by foreigners, I have the honor now to enclose a clipping from today's edition of the newspaper Excelsior containing the full text of the President's message to Congress under date of September 30, last, covering the proposed bill, together with a translation thereof.19
18 Not printed.
H. F. ARTHUR SCHOENFELD
Only the text of the bill which accompanied the President's message is printed
Proposed Alien Land Bill to Regulate Section 1 of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution 21
ARTICLE 1. In order that a foreigner may form part of a Mexican corporation which has acquired, or may acquire, lands or rights to waters and their accessions in the territory of the Republic, outside the prohibited zone, as stipulated in the final part of section 1 of article 27 of the Constitution, he must comply with the provisions of section 1, to wit: To agree before the Department of Foreign Affairs to be considered a national in respect to the part of the property which is his share in the corporation, and not to invoke in respect to the same the protection of his Government under penalty, in case of breach, of forfeiture to the Nation of the properties which he has acquired, or may acquire, as a shareholder in the corporation of which he may form a part.
ARTICLE 2. This provision must be complied with by any foreigner who wishes to acquire shares or participation of any kind in a Mexican corporation which possesses, or may possess, real estate, rights to waters and their accessions within national territory.
ARTICLE 3. No foreigner may form part of a Mexican corporation which possesses, or may possess, real property, rights to waters and their accessions in a zone of 100 kilometers along the frontiers and 50 kilometers along the seacoast.
ARTICLE 4. Agreements and contracts entered into in violation of the provisions of the three articles just preceding, shall be null and void. No agreement for the alienation of property may be considered retroactively perfect until the renouncement stipulated in article 1 of this law shall have been made.
ARTICLE 5. Any corporation in which one or more foreigners may have, in any form, an interest greater than 50 percent of the total shares of the corporation, will not enjoy the privileges which the law grants to Mexican corporations.
ARTICLE 6. Those foreigners who may have acquired, in the prohibited zones, any kind of real property, rights to waters and their accessions, as shareholders in a Mexican corporation, before this law came into force, must divest themselves thereof within 3 years from the time this law came into force, unless they acquire Mexican nationality in accordance with the existing legal provisions. Foreigners holding any shares in corporations possessing real property, rights to waters and their accessions, outside of the prohibited zone, must make a declaration before the Department of Foreign Affairs
20 File translation revised.
"For text of the Mexican Constitution, see Foreign Relations, 1917, p. 951.