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NOTICE TO CLAIMANTS
BEFORE THE SPECIAL MEXICAN CLAIMS COMMISSION
Extension of the Commission
By the provisions of House Joint Resolution 437, approved by the
President on August 25, 1937, the period prescribed for the comple-
tion of the work of the Special Mexican Claims Commission was
extended until the end of August 1938, subject to possible earlier
termination by executive order upon the completion of its work
before the end of the additional period. By reason of the extension,
notice of the entry of decisions will be given as hereinafter stated.
This extension of time will make it possible for the Commission to
accept and consider such additional evidence and written legal con-
tentions as may be submitted within the period hereinafter an-
nounced. It will also afford the Commission an opportunity to
make appropriate independent investigations of claims prior to the
entry of final awards and, upon proper showing as hereinafter
indicated, to review its decisions after they are announced.
The Act of April 10, 1935, under which the Commission was estab-
lished, provided that the decisions of the Commission should be based
upon the existing records in the claims before it, and such addi-
tional evidence and written legal contentions as might be presented.
The Commission was also given authority, in its discretion, to make
By and under the Rules and Regulations adopted by the Commis-
sion on September 16, 1935, copies of which were sent to claimants,
periods for the presentation of additional evidence and written legal
contentions were prescribed. Such evidence and legal contentions
were presented in a large number of cases and were considered, in
connection with the records previously existing, in the determination
of claims. Independent investigations were made by the Commis-
sion in a relatively small number of cases. The Commission was
aware of the availability of pertinent information, not in the record,
with respect to a considerable number of claims which the time at
its disposal did not permit it to investigate. Because of the limited
time allowed for the decision of all claims, the Commission was
obliged, during the last six months of the period originally pre-
scribed for the completion of its work, to deny the requests of claim-
ants and attorneys for additional time in which to present evidence
and written legal contentions, for its consideration.
All the 2815 claims within the present jurisdiction of the Com-
mission have been decided on the basis of the existing records.
Notice is hereby given that the Commission will consider all addi-
tional evidence and written legal contentions that may be presented
to it by or on behalf of claimants prior to October 31, 1937. Upon
proper showing before that date of the need for additional time,
extension of time may be granted in individual cases, BUT UNDER
NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL ANY NEW EVIDENCE OR
WRITTEN LEGAL CONTENTIONS BE ACCEPTED OR CON-
SIDERED AFTER DECEMBER 31, 1937. During the time al-
lowed for the presentation. of additional evidence and legal con.ten-
tions, the pertinent files of the Commission will be open to the
inspection of claimants or their authorized representatives.
Proof Necessary to Warrant an Award
Many claimants have apparently not realized that the Commission
can enter awards only upon claims as to which liability was assumed
by the Mexican Government under the terms of the Convention
(Treaty) entered into by that Government and the United States on
September 10, 1923.
The function of the present Commission is essentially judicial, and
neither the Commissioners nor the members of the staff of the Com-
mission can advise claimants or their attorneys as to the sufficiency
of the evidence already presented in support of any claim or as to
the desirability of the presentation of additional evidence or written
Article III of the Convention, specifying the forces for whose acts
the Mexican Government assumed liability, reads as follows:
"The claims which the Commission shall examine and decide are
those which arose during the revolutions and disturbed conditions
which existed in Mexico covering the period from November 20, 1910,
to May 31, 1920, inclusive, and were due to any act by the following
"(1) By forces of a Government de jure or de facto.
"(2) By revolutionary forces as a result of the triumph of whose
cause governments de facto or de jure have been established, or by
revolutionary forces opposed to them.
"(3) By forces arising from the disjunction of the forces men-
tioned in the next preceding paragraph up to the time when the
government de jure established itself as a result of a particular
(4) By federal forces that were disbanded, and
"(5) By mutinies or mobs, or insurrectionary forces other than
those referred to under subdivisions (2), (3) and (4) above, or by
bandits, provided in any case it be established that the appropriate
authorities omitted to take reasonable measures to suppress insurrec-
tionists, mobs or bandits, or treated them with lenity or were in fault
in other particulars."
An indispensable prerequisite to an award upon any claim is that
the record shall affirmatively show that the loss or damage suffered
was due to acts of forces specified in paragraph (1), (2), (3). or (4)
of the above quoted Article; or that it was due to the acts of forces
specified in paragraph (5), and, in such event, "that the appropriate
authorities omitted to take reasonable measures to suppress (the)
insurrectionists, mobs, or bandits, or treated them with lenity or were
in fault in other particulars." No award can be made upon a mere
showing of loss or damage due to revolutionary conditions.
The record, in order to warrant an award, must also contain con,-
petent proof (1) of the American citizenship of the claimant or
claimants from the date of the origin of the claim to the date of its
filing with the former Commission; (2) of the ownership of any
personal property and the ownership or right of possession of any
real property involved in the claim; (3) of the value of any pSroperty
alleged to have been lost or damaged, and the extent of the loss or
damage thereof; and, (4), of the extent of any loss or damage not
connected with property.
The Commission, in considering every claim, takes cognizance of
the historical data in its possession with reference to the activities of
various forces in Mexico, but these data are, in most instances, help-
ful to claimants only in supplementing their own evidence as to the
circumstances of their losses or damage. The Commission cannot
enter awards upon uncorroborated statements of claimants.
Notice of Decisions and Petitions for Review
As soon as possible after the expiration of the additional period
hereby granted for the presentation of additional evidence and legal
contentions, the Commission will enter its decisions upon all claims
within its jurisdiction. Copies of the decisions will be sent to claim-
ants and their attorneys, with a statement of the period allowed for
the filing of a written motion for review, and the conditions under
which such review may be granted. After the expiration of the
period allowed for review, all decisions will be made final.
Payments of Awards
The Government of Mexico is paying the amount of the lump sum
settlement agreed upon, in annual installments. A total of $1,534,-
610.15 has so far been paid to the Government of the United States.
A further payment in the amount of $529,610.15 is due in January
1938. There will be due under the agreement seven more annual
installments of approximately $500,000.00 each, and interest. It is
hoped that the work of this Commission will be completed early
enough in 1938 to make it possible that after Mexico makes the 1938
payment the total sum then available may be distributed to the
beneficiaries of the Commission's awards without unreasonable delay.
As provided in Section 4 of the Act of April 10, 1935, if the total
amount of the awards of the Commission is greater than the amount
to be available under the lump sum settlement with Mexico for the
payment of awards, it will be necessary for the Commission to reduce
its awards on a percentage basis.
The Commission considers it appropriate to bring to the attention
of claimants the fact that the data in the present records, with ref-
erence to the character and value of the services rendered by counsel
or attorneys in the preparation or prosecution of claims, are, in many
instances, not such as to afford a basis for the determination by the
Commission of just and reasonable fees for such services. The
authority of the Commission with reference to attorneys' fees is set
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forth in Section 8 of the Act of April 10, 1935. The Commission
cannot determine fees where authorized, except upon sufficient data.
Additional Claims to Be Decided;by the Commission
The Joint Resolution approved August 25, 1937, provides that,
in the event of the reclassification as special claims of any of the
claims which were found by the Joint Committee under the Con-
vention of 1934 to be general claims, the claims so reclassified shall
be passed upon by this Commission during Its existence .and there-
after by a Commission to be established in copformity with the Act
of April 10, 1935. The claims mentioned arjnow pending before
tie Commissioners of the General Claims Arbitrtion, United States
and Mexico, who, under the agreement between e two governments,
fre required to submit a Joint Report on or befol October 24, 1937.
Such claims as the Commissioners of the General Claims Arbitra-
tion may reclassify as special and any other claim which may be so
reclassifed during the existence of this Commisson will be con-
/ sidered and decided as provided in the Joint Resolution. The inter-
ested parties will be duly advised of the reclassification of any of
the claims during the existence of this Commission.
For the Commission:
By EDITH McD. LtvY,
Dated AUGUST 31, 1937. S.
U. s. 6OVERNMEnT PRIrlTIN OFFICEl 19 7