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October 19th, in which I reported that Mr. Pani had informed me, on the night of the 18th of October, that: “they would welcome 'honest criticism of the proposed Law".

I have the honor to report that I complied with the Department's instruction above mentioned, in a personal interview at noon to-day. Mr. Pani replied in English: “that is all right if that was your understanding”. I replied: “Yes, it was", and then recalled to him that the first conversation regarding the matter took place at the reception of the Chinese Legation on October 10th, and the second, at his (Mr. Pani’s) own house at the reception tendered Japanese Naval Officers on October 18th. Mr. Pani nodded his head, but made no comment. I have [etc.]




812.51/710 : Telegram The Chargé in Mexico (Summerlin) to the Secretary of State

MEXICO, January 27, 1922–4 p.m.

[Received 10:15 p.m.] 13. To-day's press published Executive decree signed on 26th regulating issuance and amortization of bonds of public agrarian debt based on article 7 of the law of January 10, 1920. The decree provides for issuance of five series of ten million pesos each 5 percent bonds which will be amortized by means of annual drawings of one-twentieth of value on the bonds outstanding each January. Application of claimants must be presented within one year. Value of expropriated land will in no case be fixed at a price greater than its fiscal value as registered where the property is located plus 10 percent. Copy of decree by


812.51/710 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Mexico (Summerlin)

WASHINGTON, January 30, 1922–6 p.m. 11. Your 13 January 27th, 4 p.m.

Relative to reported provision as to payment for expropriated land make informal representations outlined Department's No. 1501 January 15, 1921.61




For previous correspondence, see Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. II, pp. 173 ff.
Not printed.
Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. II, p. 474.


The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Mexico


No. 1996

WASHINGTON, March 6, 1922. Sir: I am in receipt of your despatch No. 4955, of February 7, 1922,62 transmitting a translation of an executive resolution which appeared in El Universal of February 7, 1922, with respect to the latter part of paragraph I of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which reads, in translation, as follows:

“Within a zone of 100 kilometers from the frontiers, and of 50 kilometers from the sea coast, no foreigner shall under any conditions acquire direct ownership of lands and waters.”

It appears that, pending the enactment of legislation to enforce Article 27, foreigners owning lands in the zones referred to will not be disturbed in their peaceful possessions, but that the Department of Agriculture and Development has been empowered to regulate the possessions either by parceling them to such Mexicans as the concessionaire may propose, or by exchanging them for other properties outside of the prohibited zones.

You are instructed to state informally to the appropriate authorities that, since the constitutional provision in question refers to the acquirement of lands, you assume that the resolution mentioned relates only to lands that have been purchased by foreigners since the date when the Constitution became effective, and that, in view of the provision of paragraph I of the resolution that foreigners will not be disturbed in the peaceful possession of lands pending the enactment of legislation, you also assume that the provisions of paragraph II relative to action by the Department of Agriculture and Development refer only to arrangements made with the consent of such foreigners. I am [etc.]



702.1211/1102 : Telegram The Secretary of State to the Governor of the State of New York


WASHINGTON, October 27, 1922. The representative at this capital of the Central Administration functioning in Mexico has advised the Department that the Oliver Trading Company, an American corporation, has instituted suit against that administration in the Supreme Court of New York, Rockland County, and in connection therewith has attached the furniture, implements and funds of the Mexican Consulate General and Financial Agency in New York City and also the property there of the International Railways of Mexico which the Department understands is controlled by the Mexican Administration.

62 Not printer

As you are doubtless aware, this Government has not recognized the Central Administration in Mexico. Moreover, no exequatur has been granted to the person now acting as Mexican Consul General in New York. However, as you were advised in the Department's letter of October 23, 1922,63 the Department has offered no objection to the performance by that person of the usual consular functions, and it clearly appears that the exercise of such functions is essential in many ways to the carrying on of commercial transactions between representatives of the two countries.

Under generally accepted practice and principles of comity a consul may claim inviolability for the archives and official property of his office and their exemption from seizure or examination, and Department is of opinion that under existing circumstances the person acting as Mexican Consul General in New York, even though he has received no exequatur, should in practice be accorded such inviolability.

Department would therefore appreciate it very much if you could find it possible to direct a law officer of your State to take this matter up immediately with the court in question with a view to prompt release from attachment of official property of the Consulate General, which, as the Department is informed, has been compelled by the attachment to suspend its functions. It may be that upon having this matter called to their attention the counsel for the Oliver Trading Company would consent to a lifting of the attachment to the extent indicated.

The matter is very seriously viewed by the Mexican Administration.

Please be so kind as to telegraph me promptly what action you have taken.

Department understands that attorneys for Oliver Trading Company are Zabriskie, Sage, Kerr, and Gray, forty-nine Wall Street.


Not found in Department files.

702.1211/1103 : Telegram The Governor of the State of New York (Miller) to the Secretary

of State

ALBANY, October 27, 1922.

[Received 6:50 p.m.] Your telegram of 27th relative Mexico Central Administration received, matter referred to Attorney General of the State to take immediate steps to ascertain if purpose set forth can be accomplished. Advise you later.


702.1211/1105 : Telegram

The Deputy Attorney General of the State of New York (Conklin)

to the Secretary of State

New YORK, October 27, 1922.

[Received 8:25 p.m.] In the matter of the attachment issued against the property of the Mexican Government by the Oliver Trading Company I am advised by the attorneys, Zabriskie, Sage, Kerr, and Gray that pursuant to the suggestion contained in your telegram to Governor Miller, as they interpret it, they are willing to vacate the attachment so far as it pertains to the property of the Mexican Consular General in New York. They desire me to state that at no time has the attachment been of such a character as to necessitate the suspension of his functions by the Consular General.

I shall telephone you Saturday morning with further explanation and shall await your advice as to whether the relief above outlined will be sufficient.


702.1211/1104 : Telegram

The Chargé in Mexico (Summerlin) to the Secretary of State

Mexico, October 27, 1922—10 a.m.

[Received 5:16 p.m.] 115. Reference to Oliver Trading Company case, today's local press published Foreign Office statement to the effect that if the protest stated to have been presented to the Department is not effective Mexican Consulate in New York will be closed.



Memorandum by Mr. Joseph R. Baker, of the Office of the Solicitor

for the Department of State

[WASHINGTON,] October 31, 1922. On October 30, 1922, a conference was held before the Acting Secretary, participated in by Mr. Jerome Hess of the firm of Hardin and Hess, New York City, attorneys for the Obregon Administration in Mexico in the suit recently brought in the New York Supreme Court by the Oliver Trading Company against that Administration; by Mr. Frank L. Polk, representing New York bankers who have recently made an arrangement with the Obregon Administration regarding the service of Mexican bonds; by Mr. Matthew E. Hanna, Chief of the Mexican Division, and Mr. Joseph R. Baker of the Solicitor's Office.

Mr. Hess stated that the attachments which have been levied in connection with that suit upon property of the Mexican Consulate General in New York, the financial agency of Mexico in New York, and the property in that city of the National Railways of Mexico, have aroused intense feeling in Mexico and are considered as an affront against the Nation.

When told by the representatives of the Department present that it appeared that the attachment against the property of the Consulate General had been or was about to be lifted, Mr. Hess stated that he had not been informed that such action had actually been taken. Thereupon Mr. Hanna informed him of the message just received by telephone from New York stating that an order was about to be signed to that effect.

However, Mr. Hess added that while this information was gratifying, yet it did not cover the entire situation.

Mr. Polk stated that the attachments in question had been served upon bankers who were supposed to have in their possession funds of the Obregon Administration and that he was of the opinion that if these attachments remained in force, it would disrupt the arrangements made as aforesaid for the service of the Mexican bonds and compel the transfer of negotiations to this end from the United States to a foreign country such as England or Belgium. He further pointed out that if the plaintiff in this litigation should make his attachments hold, a multiplicity of suits against the Obregon Administration might be expected in the United States in which attachments might be levied against Mexican consular and other property.

Reference was made to a recent decision in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York in a suit brought by one

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