The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Messersmith)
Sir: Reference is made to the Agreement of April 26, 1943 for the temporary migration of Mexican agricultural workers to the United States for employment.
Reference is also made to a telephone conversation between Mr. Sidney E. O’Donoghue, First Secretary of Embassy, and an officer of the Department on December 12, 1945, regarding the desire of the Office of Labor of the United States Department of Agriculture to send representatives to Mexico to discuss the possible contracting of additional workers for the 1946 agricultural growing season. In that conversation it was agreed that it would be inadvisable for the representatives of the Department of Agriculture to proceed to Mexico during the month of December to discuss this matter with the Mexican Government because the Christmas vacation celebrated in Mexico would begin on December 20 and would make it impossible to complete the discussions until January, and because it was doubted that the time was opportune to discuss such a program with the Mexican Government.[Page 1157]
As a result of that conversation, it was arranged with the Office of Labor of the Department of Agriculture to address a communication to the Department setting forth the general situation in regard to the need for Mexican agriculture workers in 1946, with the understanding that you would be requested, in your discretion, to address a note to the Mexican Government informing it of the desire of this Government to contract a maximum of approximately 54,000 Mexican workers to be under actual employment at any one time during 1946. That letter has now been received and reads as follows:
“The problem of procuring agricultural labor for the planting, cultivating and harvesting of a continued large essential food crop in 1946 is still considered critical and the prospects of any major correction of this condition within the next few months appears remote.
“Because of this, the President requested and Congress has approved the extension of the foreign agricultural labor program through the calendar year 1946. As you know, a portion of this program has included the importation of Mexican agricultural workers under the Memorandum of Understanding between Mexico and the United States, dated April 26, 1943.
“Since continuing authority has now been granted for this program and it is the opinion of this office that Mexican workers will be desired, it is requested that you notify the Mexican Government that the United States wishes to continue to use agricultural workers under this Agreement and that it be considered to be operative accordingly.
“The funds appropriated by Congress will provide for a maximum of approximately 54,000 Mexican workers under actual employment at any one time. The areas and type of employment within the United States will be approximately the same as during the past year. It is proposed to carry over into the new year the 18,000 workers now under employment which would mean that the rate of recruitment and numbers desired during 1946 would be approximately the same as during this past year. Indications are now that this recruitment should occur primarily during April, May and June with the possibility of a small number prior to that time and some replacements after that period.
“Assuming that the Mexican Government will agree to a continuation of the program, it is felt desirable that representatives from this office go to Mexico City as soon as convenient to the Mexican officials and discuss with them any difficulties of the past year’s operations and the desirability of making some slight modifications to the present Work Agreement to improve the administration of the program.
“Please advise this office as soon as possible of any reactions or replies concerning this continuation of the program since it is imperative that all pertinent contracts and plans be renewed on January 1, 1946 for the new year.”
You are requested, in your discretion, to present this matter to the Mexican Government with a view to securing the desired permission [Page 1158] for the recruiting of Mexican agricultural workers in 1946, as outlined above. Please inform the Mexican Government that representatives of the Office of Labor will proceed to Mexico to discuss details of contracting and employment at the convenience of that Government, which, they hope, will be at the earliest possible date.
Very truly yours,