The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 38
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Mixed Claims Commission, at the time of making its re-
port on December 14, 1876, filed a joint expense account, which
showed a balance in favor of Mexico of more than $57,000.10 On
December 20, 1876, four days after the filing of the formal re-
port and the expense account of the Mixed Claims Commission,
Secretary of State Hamilton Fish instructed Mr. Foster to as-
certain whether Mexico preferred to deduct the whole of this
$57,000 from the first $300,000 installment, or to distribute it
"through the several periods at which payments were to be
Before receiving a reply from Mr. Foster in regard to this
query, Secretary Fish, on January 19, 1877, just twelve days be-
fore the installment was due to be paid the United States by
Mexico, wrote to Mr. Foster that despatches received in Wash-
ington seemed to indicate that Diaz was "the actual ruler" in
Mexico. In view of this Secretary Fish added:
Inasmuch, therefore, as we cannot receive from a government
which we do not acknowledge the installment of indemnity pay-
able by Mexico on the 31st instant, on this account, especially
you would be warranted in recognizing the government of Por-
firio Diaz, unless before this reaches you such a step should be
made inexpedient by events which are not now foreseen. You
will exercise your best discretion in the matter.2
This decision of Secretary Fish to facilitate the collection of
a $300,000 installment of an indemnity, even at the expense of
according recognition to the Diaz government, was made with
full knowledge of recent very questionable action on the part
of the Diaz government. For instance, on December 4, 1876, the
new Diaz government announced the repudiation of two specific
contracts of the late government of Lerdo de Tejada and at the
same time the nullification "of any contract which may result
in burden to the nation."'3 Mr. Foster promptly warned Sec-
retary Fish of the danger to American interests should this nulli-
""Statement of account of United States and Mexican Claim Commis-
sion," in ibid., 389-390.
"Fish to Foster, Washington, Dec. 20, 1876, in ibid., p. 388.
"Fish to Foster, Washington, Jan. 19, 1877, in ibid., p. 394.
""General Diaz's decree nullifying contracts of Lerdo government
(translated from the Diario Oficial of December 4, 1876)," in ibid.,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/42/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.