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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Mexico,   pp. 531-649 PDF (41.5 MB)

Page 532

and it avails itself of the occasion to state that the United States
has never in any manner, by the voice of any of its chief magistrates,
especially by that of its present President, obligated itself not to em-
ploy diplomatic intervention in favor of its citizens abroad, when
such action is justifiable. It does not accept Mexico's argument that
if foreigners were given the right of diplomatic representation, they
would be in a more privileged position than nationals in many cases.
It suggests that the national has, aside from the ordinary judicial re-
course, the final recourse of changing, by means of the vote, the in-
stitutions or authorities who may encroach upon their rights; that
foreigners do not possess this right, and therefore they would be
placed in a position of disadvantage as compared with nationals,
were they prohibited from appealing to their governments for
protection against wrongs.
The note concludes by saying that if the subsequent proceedings
of the Mexican Government and of its administrative or judicial
authorities should not respond to the hopes of the Government of
the United States, the latter reserves to itself the consideration of
the question of interesting itself further on behalf of its citizens in
respect to this important matter.
The note also states that the President has drawn a sharp contrast
between the policy of armed intervention and that of diplomatic
intervention. He has declared on numerous occasions, in effect, that
he would not countenance armed intervention in the affairs of an-
other state for the purpose of gratifying selfish interests, and the
composite statement presented by the Mexican Minister of Foreign
Affairs clearly comprehends such a situation.
But the President has never stated that he would forego the right
of diplomatic intervention in behalf of his fellow citizens, a distinctly
friendly method of supporting legitimate national interests in order
to avoid injustice. On the contrary, the President had declared for
diplomatic interposition nowhere better than in the following para-
graph from his address of January 29, 1916:
" The United States has not only to assert her right to her own
life within her own borders; she has also to assert her right to equal
and just treatment of her citizens wherever they go."
The Government of the United States asks no more than "equal
and just treatment " for its citizens, and therefore cherishes the sin-
cere hope that the Mexican tribunals whose prerogative it may be to
pass upon the legal questions involved in the petroleum decree, will,
in the proceedings which it is understood have been initiated and
which may hereafter be commenced, protect the legitimately acquired
rights of citizens of the United States. Thus the controversy may
happily be ended. However, should this hope unfortunately be dis-

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