125.61383/158: Telegram

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

2281. Your 3256.

Department is unable to give full consideration to Mexican Government’s contention in Jenkins case, and in the matter of payment of ransoms in general, until copies of your note of October 25 and Mexican Foreign Office’s note in response thereto, have been received. You will therefore forward copies of these notes.

Meantime you will informally advise Foreign Office that Department’s 2259, October 24, the substance of which it is understood you presented to the Mexican Government grew out of a very unusual situation in the United States as a result of the kidnapping of Jenkins, in which the American public took the keenest interest. The feeling of resentment here was so general and so deep that it appeared to be reaching a point which threatened the good relations existing between the two countries. For had Jenkins been harmed or suffered from longer detention, the condition of affairs here might have grown beyond control. In the interest, therefore, of Americans and Mexicans alike, it was necessary that immediate action should result in the release of Jenkins unharmed. In these circumstances the Department suggested that the Mexican Government take effective steps to obtain his release unharmed even if payment by Mexico of indemnity demanded be necessary. It is clear that this expression, when considered in the light of surrounding circumstances, does not indicate either that it is expected that Mexico should pay generally ransoms demanded by bandits, or that Mexico was under any legal obligation to pay ransoms as a rule or the ransom in this particular case. The views of the United States on these points were not presented or discussed. In this view of the matter it would seem that a discussion of the general question of the payment of ransoms or of the responsibility for their payment which is taken up by the Mexican Government in its note of November 3, is not called for by the Embassy’s note of October 25. The main point of the Embassy’s representations was to impress the necessity of taking prompt, effective, and all possible measures to secure the release of Jenkins unharmed. Happily the release of Jenkins has been [Page 582] obtained without the payment of ransom on the part of the Mexican Government, and the object of the urgent representations of this Government has been accomplished without entering into a consideration of the principles mentioned in the Mexican Note of November 3, as to which the United States specifically reserves an expression of its views.