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Volume 161: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1923

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2. 3, and 4.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether he has invited the British Representatives of the Bankers' Committee, which arrived at a settlement with the Mexican Government, to furnish him with a report of the proceedings; whether, in view of the interest displayed by hon. Members in this matter, he would cause such report to be printed;

(2) whether, with a view to regularising our relations with Mexico, he will now appoint a Minister Plenipotentiary to that country;

(3) whether he is aware that certain bonds of the Huerta Government of Mexico, known as the De Kay bonds, were not included, owing to their doubtful legality, in the settlement arrived at between the Mexican Government and the Committee of International Bankers; and whether it is the policy of the Foreign Office to insist upon the recognition of bonds, the validity of which has not been upheld by the Bankers' Committee, previous to according official recognition to Mexico?


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Govern- ment still declines to enter into an agreement with the Mexican Government to set up a mixed Commission to examine and adjudicate upon claims made by British citizens, on the grounds that the Mexican Government will not consent to certain bonds issued by the Huerta Government being taken into consideration; whether he is aware that the legality of these bonds has always been disputed by successive Mexican Governments; and whether he will see that the satisfaction of just claims is not prejudiced by an insistence on claims which have been disputed by all Mexican Governments?

With the hon. Members' permission, I will circulate the reply to these four questions in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The claims agreement which was pro posed by His Majesty's Government to the Mexican Government was, in substance, identical with similar agreements, under which satisfactory settlements of claims by and against other foreign countries have been secured. It applied equally to claims by British nationals against the Mexican Government, and by Mexican nationals against His Majesty's Government. The negotiations broke down at the end of 1922 because the Mexican Government demanded recognition before any Commission was set up, and insisted on the exclusion of certain categories of claims from the purview of the Commission. Among these categories were claims arising out of expropriations carried out under the Mexican agrarian laws, and also those of the British holders of certain issues of bonds, including the Mexican National Packing Company, or De Kay bonds, which the Mexican Government did not recognise. His Majesty's Government cannot accept the repudiation of these issues, but consider that the liability, or otherwise, of the Mexican Government is a question which should be submitted, in the same way as other claims, to the proposed Commission, the whole object of which is to obtain an impartial decision about claims which are not recognised by one or other of the Governments concerned. The responsibility for the breakdown of the negotiations on this ground, therefore, as on the other grounds which I have mentioned, rests wholly with the Mexican Government.

The agreement concluded last year between the Mexican Government and and the International Bankers' Committee has been published, and copies have also been communicated to the Foreign Office. The Committee was a purely private organisation for which His Majesty's Government have never accepted any responsibility. It is, therefore, not proposed to print their report officially. The appointment of a Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico would imply recognition of the present Mexican Government, which His Majesty's Govern-are at present unable to grant.