Minimum Standard of the Treatment of Aliens

Edwin Borchard, Yale Law School


In its note of August 3, 1938, the Mexican Government, by its Minister of Foreign Affairs, contested the right of the United States to demand compensation for the agricultural lands of American citizens expropriated by Mexico since 1927. It asserted that the countries of this continent have vigorously maintained "the principle of equality between the nationals and foreigners, considering that the foreigner who voluntarily moves to a country... in search of personal benefit, accepts in advance, together with the advantages which he is going to enjoy, the risks to which he may find himself exposed. It would be unjust that he should aspire to a privileged position safe from any risk, but availing himself, on the other hand, of the effort of the nationals which must be to the benefit of the collectivity." The Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs then invoked article 9 of the Convention on the Rights and Duties of States signed at Montevideo, 1933, which provides for complete jurisdiction of states within their national territory over all inhabitants, to the effect that "nationals and foreigners are under the same protection of the law and the national authorities, and foreigners may not claim rights other than or more extensive than those of nationals."