Warsaw (May. 13)
The question of trading rights for foreigners living in Mexico has been for a long time in dispute between the Mexican Ministry of the Interior and the Mexican Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Minister being in favour of according such rights to foreign residents, the Polish Foreign Ministry informed the J.T.A. here to-day. This information it has received from the Polish Consul in Mexico, M. Merdinger, who has intervened with the Mexican Government on behalf of the Polish Jews in Mexico, who are affected by the anti-Jewish agitation.
A special commission has been appointed to settle the question in dispute between the two Ministries, and if it fails to reach agreement, the final decision will lie with the President of the Republic, Senor Rubio.
DR. MAURICE B. HEXTER’S REPORT ON JEWISH CONDITIONS IN MEXICO
Dr. Maurice B. Hexter, now a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, who spent a long time in Mexico in 1924-25 on behalf of the Emergency Committee for Jewish Refugees, to study the situation and report to American Jewry whether Jewish immigration to Mexico should be stimulated, reported against accepting the offer made by the Mexican Government of the time to colonise a large number of Jewish refugees in Mexico. He reported that it was inadvisable for the Emergency Committee to encourage and stimulate immigration to Mexico: he even suggested that it would be wise for the Committee to discourage further movement to Mexico.
On the subject of antisemitism, Dr. Hexter wrote that “at this time there is little or no feeling against the Jews as such, though there is against strangers, as, for example, in the treatment accorded foreigners by trade unions. There are signs, however, that such a feeling of antisemitism is not far off. It begins when the Jew comes into active competition with others.
Dr. Hexter found considerable smouldering antisemitism whose recrudescence he feared. For example, at Easter time effigies of Judas are burnt, shot at, or exploded all over Mexico.
One paper, the “Revista Yucatan”, writing of the offer made by President Calles at that time to Jews to come to Mexico, said that Calles was yielding to the Jews so that they could fill themselves up like leeches and after sucking the blood throw aside the remains.
Rabbi Martin Zielonka, speaking before the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 1923, said “the hand of the Inquisition still hangs heavy over Mexico, and the word “Jew” is only whispered here and there, and the Jews do not know each other.
A wealthy Jewish merchant of Mexico City wrote that “One has to be aware of the fact that the environment is strictly Latin and thoroughly Roman Catholic. There is a lack of tolerance, as known in Anglo-Saxon countries, and the danger consists in that after some years, some political organisation will avail itself of any animosity against Jews, to find sufficient support for its political struggle. Such an event would, of course, create a very critical situation, and involve perhaps not only the Jews residing in Mexico, but also the Jews of other countries. Therefore, I would say that no question of desirability of such an immigration could ever be raised.”
There is no doubt, Dr. Hexter said, that the severer the competition becomes the more readily will antisemitism develop. It will be no answer to say that the price of commodities has been brought down by such competition.
Most of the immigrants, Dr. Hexter found, had come from Poland, a smaller number from what was Austro-Hungary, and a number from Soviet Russia. Speaking of the occupational distribution of the immigrants, he said that in the cities, away from the Federal District, they are almost solely pedlars; occasionally, they have acquired sufficient capital, or have had it sent to them to establish small stands where hardware or dry goods are sold. Some sell upon the instalment plans In the small towns he found no artisans whatever. One can readily imagine, he said, that the number of pedlars is far too large. The enmity of the store-keepers has been aroused and they are exerting more pressure upon the Administration to charge higher and higher fees for the privilege.