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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 638

It would seem unnecessary to adduce arguments to show that it is
highly desirable to provide for such a disposition rather than to
leave for diplomatic discussion a large proportion of the claims.
With regard to the provision of Article XIV of the decree respect-
ing the appointment of a third arbitrator in case of a failure upon
the part of the two arbitrators first selected to agree upon a third,
the Foreign Office points out that the President of the Republic
would be unable to modify this provision, since it forms part of a law
which only the Congress of the Union can amend. Such being the
case, the Embassy ventures to inquire, under instructions from its
Government, whether the President of the Republic would not be dis-
posed to urge that Congress take such action. In this connection,
the Embassy desires to point out that this provision is regarded by
the Government of the United States as of great importance. In-
deed, it is hardly too much to say that the retention of a provision,
whereby the possibility exists of the appointment by the Mexican
Government of two out of the three members of the Arbitration
Board, would be likely to arouse such criticism on the part of claim-
ants as greatly to hamper the Department of State in its desire to
render assistance to the Mexican Government in the prompt disposi-
tion of the claims.
In the note of the Foreign Office, it is stated that the President of
Mexico concurs with the Department of State in believing that the
period of ten days, prescribed in Article XX of the regulations set
forth by the decree of December 24, 1917 for the making of a written
statement by the claimant, is too short, and that he is disposed to
increase this period to sixty days. The Embassy, therefore, requests
to be advised whether such extension has, in fact, been made.
Finally, I am instructed by my Government to say that because of
the delay which has occurred in effective dealing by the Mexican
Government with the claims of foreigners, there has arisen in this
country a feeling that the Government of Mexico is not earnestly en-
deavoring to bring about a satisfactory adjustment of the matter.
In view of this feeling, which my Government is bound to say seems
not to be without some justification, it, as at present advised, finds
itself unable to recommend to American citizens that they submit
their claims to the Commission and Board of Arbitration provided
for in the Decrees mentioned, and must point out the desirability of
the establishment of an arbitral tribunal of undoubted international
standing to deal with such claims.
I am [etc.]                                ROBERT LANSING
The Charge in Mexico (Sumnerlin) to the Secretary of State
No. 2374                     MEXICO, September 10, 1919.
[Received September 22.]
SIR: With reference to the Embassy's telegram No. 3161 of Sep-
tember 1, 4 P.M.,23 giving extracts from a Presidential Decree, as
" Not printed.

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