226. Letter From the Ambassador in Mexico (White) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Holland)1

Dear Henry: Enclosed herewith are copies of memos of my conversation with President Ruiz Cortines on the evening of May 28th.2

I am waiting today to hear from Gorostize when he has had his acuerdo with the President when he will see me. He promised it would be either this afternoon or tomorrow.

On Communism, you will see that the President has said that he will appoint somebody to deal with this matter with us. In view of the very flaccid manner in which the Minister of Education3 has handled the Communist inspired student strikes at the Polytechnic [Page 721] Institution and at the Normal School without the President insisting, even when there were newspaper editorials clamoring for positive action against the hoodlumism and vandalism of the students, I am not too sanguine that anything really effective will come out of it. However, all we can do is endeavor in every way to bring to him the realization of the danger of Communism and urge some action on his part to counteract it. Frankly I don’t think we will get to first base on this until Cardenas disappears from the political scene.

You will note that on fisheries4 and on the Sabalo5 he will take the matters up with Padillo Nervo. On the fisheries he was in earnest, and I don’t think knew anything about the suggested fisheries convention proposed to Mexico two years ago. On the Sabalo he was plainly stalling.

The talk with him on the Chamizal matter6 was interesting. I must say it had me wondering why he brought the matter up, even left-handedly at the last moment as he did at White Sulphur Springs. Maybe he and Padilla thought they could get a great diplomatic victory over the United States and that nothing was to be lost in trying it out anyhow. I cannot feel that they really want to sit down and work out a practicable settlement. After the matter has lain dormant for a few more months I shall sound him out again, however.

The loan to the Pacific Railroad really has him bothered, and from what I can see the failure of the Fundidora and of Altos Hornos to get loans has had repercussions that should be healthy in the business community. The Bankers Association, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, and the Industrial Chamber of Commerce are now studying all foreign investment in Mexico. The latest [Page 722] pamphlet of the Chamber of Transformation Industries has taken a crack at all these other organizations so it has them pretty well aroused and something may well come of it, especially if we continue to hold the line.

I shall of course inform you of any further developments in any of these matters so soon as they occur.7

Ever sincerely,

  1. Source: Department of State, Holland Files: Lot 57 D 295, Mexico. Confidential; Official–Informal.
  2. Texts of Ambassador White’s conversations with President Ruiz Cortines, dated May 29, prepared as individual memoranda, numbered 1 through 6, are ibid.
  3. José Angel Ceniceros.
  4. According to memorandum no. 3 on this subject, Ambassador White stated to President Ruiz Cortines the following:

    “The territorial limit cannot be changed unilaterally on the whim or political motives of individual countries. I said that should we accept to have our boats taken outside the three mile limit by Mexico the same would be used against us in other parts of the world, and on such a basis we might be required to withdraw our 7th Fleet from Formosa—nor would we be able to operate on the high seas between Japan and Korea. I said that the matter is of vital importance to us and I thought the President would not want to do anything that would make our dealings difficult on such an occasion. The President said that in any war we could count on Mexico being with us.”

  5. Reference is to an American-owned company which lost its physical properties but not its contractual rights when the oil expropriation decree was promulgated by the Mexican Government in 1938. When denied access to lands held under its contract, the Sabalo company sought, through the courts, an alternative contract or cash compensation from the Mexican Government.
  6. Reference is to a tract of land in the area of El Paso, Texas, along the Rio Grande River border, ownership of which was disputed by Mexico and the United States because the river’s course had shifted since the original boundary was drawn in the 19th century.
  7. In a letter to White dated June 21, Holland wrote: “I have read the memoranda with a great deal of interest, but am reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the outlook for definitive action on communism or settlement of the Chamizal problem is not bright.” (Department of State, Holland Files: Lot 57 D 295, Mexico)