15 APRIL 1938, Page 2

Great Britain and Mexico The British note to Mexico demanding

immediate restitu- tion of the expropriated oil wells leaves very little room for compromise. The United States asked either for restitution or full compensation ; the British demand is unqualified. There can be little doubt that the Mexican Government has the right to expropriate if it chooses, though it may not have exercised the right either wisely or justly. It is not likely that Mexico has the means to pay full com- pensation ; but if by a miracle she should have, America apparently would be satisfied and Britain would not. That would be a difficult position to defend ; and on practical grounds alone the British Government does not seem to have chosen the best way of redressing the wrongs com- mitted. Any Government, and a weak one in particular, must find it difficult to accept demands couched in such unqualified terms, especially if, like the Mexican, it rides on the wave of a nationalist revolution. And there is an obvious temptation, in such circumstances, to exploit the demand as a means of rousing national feeling against the Gringo. The American Note gives less excuse for such misrepresentation, and on that ground alone seems to be more wisely formulated.

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