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The Governor, speaking further, said that he knew that the Embassy's statement-that all countries would acknowledge the Huerta Government on February 21—was incorrect, and that the telegraphic communication was wrong; in fact, he said, that he believed that the United States had not recognized the new administration. The Coosul could only reassure the Governor that the United States had recognized the Iluerta Government as he had received no advice to the contrary. So far as persuading the Governor to make terms with the Provisional Government the Consul's mission was fruitless.
On March 5, the following telegraphic despatch was sent to the Embassy:
March 5, 1 p. m. Your instruction March 4 submitted to the Governor at his military camp twelve miles north at midnight. Governor resents and declines sugestions of Embassy, insisting upon the fundamental wrong of the l'rovisional Government. Confidently and defiantly he announces armed re. sistance. His strength should not be underestimated. The Consulate is denied communication with the Embassy. City well guarded and quiet but situation becoming hourly more serious. Foreigners have been ordered to display their flags.
The Department received this despatch also, and was requested to notify the Embassy, as, at the time, the line to Mexico City was closed. Later on the message was transmitted.
On March 5, the Governor ordered the telegraph operator of the National Railroad to refuse all official telegrams of the Consul unless countersigned by the Governor. A protest was promptly made to the military commander with satisfactory results.
On March 6, Colonel Cos, Military Commander, ordered all delinquents to pay their taxes and licenses within 72 hours. It is not definitely known how much he derived through this project, but it is estimated from 2.5,000 to 50,000 pesos. * * * [Details of collecting of taxes.] I have [etc.]
Philip E. IIOLLAND.
NOTE.--The despatch from which the following extracts are taken begins with copies of all the telegrams from the Embassy covering the period February 9-24, 1913, with accompanying comments by the Ambassador; these telegrams, in so far as pertinent to political affairs, have been printed in the foregoing pages. The Ambassador then explains various phases of the situation under the following subheadings.
File No. 812.00/68.40.
The American Ambassador to the Secretary of State.
Mexico, Jarch 12, 1913,
MY DEAR MR. BRYAN: * * *
RELATIONS WITH DÍAZ AND HUERTA. My attention has been called to articles in certain American newspapers which, either though erroneous information or malicious intention, seemed disposed to put a false construction on the relations of the Embassy with Generals Huerta and Díaz during the bombardment of this city.
As the Embassy's telegrams treating of these relations were necessarily brief because the transactions with those individuals were extremely limited and not in any way intricate, it may be advisable to furnish the Department with more details at this time.
In preface I may say that I never met or saw General Díaz until the meeting reported in my telegram of February 12, 8 p. m., and that I never exchanged messages, written or verbal, with him other than those reported to the Department in my February 9,7 p. m.; February 12, 2 p. m.'; February 13, 3 p. m.'; February 12, 8 p. m.; February 14, 3 p. m.; February 16, 8 p. m.'; February 16, 11 a. m.; and February 18, midnight.
I first saw and knew General Huerta in the meeting reported in my telegram of February 15, 11 p. m., and I exchanged with him no other communications, verbal or written, than those which have been furnished to the Department in my t rams of February 15, 7 p. m.; February 16 1 p. m.'; February p. m.'; February 16, 11 a. m.; February 15, 11 p. m.; February 17, 10 p. m.; February 17, 4 p. m.; February 18, midnight; February 18, 5 p. m.; February 18, 3 p. m.'; February 19, 10 p. m.; February 20, 6 p. m.; February 24, 8 p. m.; February 27, noon; February 28, midnight; March 1, midnight'; and March 4.
I was brought into communication with him in the following way: On the day when the Federal forces were proposing to establish a battery in the immediate vicinity of the Embassy I asked a volunteer from the crowd outside to carry a verbal message directly to the General asking him immediately to send an officer and to remove this battery, without waiting to reply to my note of February 15. A Mexican gentleman by the name of Copeda, whom I had known for some time, said that he knew General Huerta intimately and would carry the message. This he did, and on his return he informed me that General Huerta wished to have an interview with me, as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. As many of my colleagues had been urging me to appeal directly to General Huerta to abate the intolerable situation which then existed, I promptly said that I would be glad to meet him. No such meeting, however, occurred, and it was only when I received the message reported in my Febrilary 17, 4 p. m., that I began to believe that some steps were under contemplation to put a termination to the battle. In my own mind I anticipated that a mild form of coup d'état, which would lead to the resignation of Madero after a refusal on the part of the Federal troops further to engage the troops of Díaz, might be undertaken. But I had no reason to think that violence would occur and that the President and his Ministers would be made prisoners, and when the news reported in my February 18, 5 p. m., was brought to me I regarded it for some time with incredulity. When satisfied of the accuracy of the report I was confronted with the following situation :
Two hostile armies were in possession of the capital and all civil authority had disappeared. Some 25,000 foreigners, who, as de
veloped during the bombardment, seemed to rely upon the Embassy for protection, were at the mercy of the mob or exposed to indiscriminate firing which might at any moment begin. Without conferring with anyone, I immediately decided to ask Generals Huerta and Díaz to come to the Embassy for a consultation, my object being to have them enter into an agreement for the suspension of hostilities and for joint submission to the Federal Congress. Four hours after the fall of Madero these two generals arrived, with their staffs, at the Embassy and remained there five hours endeavoring to reach an agreement. Three times the discussion was broken off and I interfered and with appeals to their reason and patriotism induced them to continue, with the result that at 1 o'clock in the morning the agreement was signed and deposited in the Embassy and immediate proclamation announcing the suspension of hostilities issued. The consummation of this arrangement I regard as the most successful and far reaching of all the difficult work I was called upon to perform during the revolution in that it stopped further effusion of blood, allow the population of the city to resume their ordinary peaceful ocd tions, and led finally to the creation of a provisional government which is rapidly establishing peace throughout the Republic,
Moreover, at this crisis the news of the President's telegram to the governors about intervention, his attempt to discredit me with the President at Washington, and his announced intention to use mortars and dynamite shells in attacking the citadel, seemed to relieve me of all moral responsibility to him as Chief Executive of this nation, while, at the same time, the possibilities of increased horrors and dangers added to my responsibilities to the American and foreign colonies in this city. Had it even been possible to communicate with him—which was not the case—he would in all probability, judging from past experiences, have treated my message with scorn and suspicion and pursued his course of devastation and ruin.
THE KILLING OF THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT.
As this subject seems to have developed considerable press discussion it might be useful to amplify the information contained in my telegrams relative thereto, and to furnish the Department with some details which at the time were not considered essential, as I never for a moment believed the lives of Madero and Pino Suárez to be in danger from the Government.
Immediately after the arrest and imprisonment of Madero and his Ministers I sent the volunteer messenger of the Embassy to General Huerta, asking that no further violence be committed or blood shed, and also that if it were compatible with the safety of the city he would release the Ministers. The messenger brought back to me the assurances of General Huerta that no violence against the President and Vice President was contemplated and that, acting upon my suggestion, he had immediately placed all of the Ministers of the Nadero Cabinet at liberty. Later on, as reported in my tele
See telegram of Feb. 18, midnight.
See the Ambassador's telegrams of Frb. 16. 3 p. m.; Feb. 16, 7 p. m.; the Secretarg'a telegram of Feb. 15, midnight; the President's telegram of Feb. 16.
gram of February 19, 10 p. m., he asked my opinion as to what disposition should be made of the President; and as both of the courses he indicated an intention of following seemed to be comparatively mild, I did not think it expedient to assume the responsibility of advising him, but answered that he must do what was best for the peace of Mexico.
Later, as reported to the Department in my telegram of February 20, 6 p. m., I remonstrated with the President, and I think with Mr. de la Barra, against the unnecessary severity of the ex-President's confinement, and suggested that he and the other prisoners should be transferred to more comfortable quarters. It was at this time that the Provisional President informed me that the ex-President and ex-Vice President would be put in a place of safety and later tried for crimes the character of which was not indicated to me.
As reported in my telegram of February 20, 6 p. m., I went to the Presidencia with the German Minister and had a very serious conversation, in which my colleague took part, requesting assurances that the lives of the ex-President and the ex-Vice President would be saved. These, as the Department knows, were given; and I beliered, and the German Minister believed, as well as many of our colleagues who had been to the Provisional President on a similar mission, that there existed no reason for apprehension as to the attitude of the Government toward the deposed President and Vice President.
I also, at the request of Mrs. Madero, verbally asked the Provisional President to permit her to see the ex-President and that he should be furnished more palatable food.
At the request of Mrs. Pino Suárez, to whom I paid a visit, I addressed a letter to General Blanquette, especially interceding for the life of the ex-Vice President, which I believed to be in some danger from unofficial enemies.
Not content with these efforts, I personally visited different members of the Cabinet for the purpose of expressing my deep concern for the preservation of the ex-President's life and my desire that his treatment should be humane and considerate. If I had been in the slightest degree apprehensive of any intention on the part of the Government to deal foully with the ex-President I might have been more agitated and more vehement, but not more active.
Moreover, at the request of the family, I sent two special American messengers to General Mondragón for the purpose of recovering the body of the unfortunate Gustavo Madero, and obtained authority for these men to search for the remains near the citadel, which they did for two days without success.
Mrs. Wilson added her efforts to mine and went frequently to see the mother and widow of the ex-President, carrying them flowers and expressions of sympathy.
Believing at one time that the life of Ernesto Madero might possibly be in danger, I sent him a letter inviting him to come, with his family, to the Embassy; and I afterwards caused the soldiers (who were ugly and threatening) to be removed from the house of his brother-in-law, where he was staying.
I think, therefore, that I am wirrunted in saying that so far as tliis Embassy is concerned everything was done to save the life of Mr. Madero that humanitarian considerations, public opinion in the United States, and the instructions of the Department could demand.
Concerning the facts of the deplorable death of the ex-President and ex-Vice President it is not possible for this Embassy to furnish the Department with a reliable account beyond the official version, which, in the absence of any other, I felt obliged to accept. A dozen different accounts by " eyewitness," all differing absolutely in details, have been offered to the Embassy, but all are lacking in the elements of probability, and none convincing or positive.
My own opinion is that the Government was not privy to the killing of these men, but that either their deaths resulted as related in the official version or that they resulted from a subordinate military conspiracy, actuated by sentimients of revenge for the murder of General Ruiz in the National Palace, the probable murder of General Reyes, and the shooting to death by the ex-President of Colonels Riverol and Izquierdo at the time he was made prisoner.
History will undoubtedly straighten out this tangle, and while the crime was revolting to all people of civilized and humane sentiments it is not evident to me that, politically speaking, the death of these two Mexicans, relegated to private life by their resignations, should arouse greater expressions of popular disapproval in the United States than the murders, unrequited by justice, of some 75 or SO Americans in Mexico during the last two years.
I believe that in announcing publicly my acceptance of the official version of the death of these two men—and indeed I could not, with reference to the gravity of the situation, take any other coure-I adopted the surest method of arresting hasty judgment and of allaring that singular and perverse sentimentality which frequently leads to the commission of greater crimes as punishments for lesser ones.
As the Department is a ware, an official investigation, apparently impartial, is being made of all of the circumstances connected with the death of Madero, and in due time its conclusions will be published and transmitted by this Embassy.
LEGALITY, ETC., OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. There can be no doubt as to the legal constitution of the present Provisional Government in conformity with precedents and the Mer ican Constitution.
When President Díaz and Vice President Corral resigned simultaneously, De la Barra, Secretary of Foreign Relations, was summoned by Congress to take the oath according to the Constitution.
Hlad Díaz died or resigned, his legal successor under the Constitution would have been his Secretary of Foreign Relations; and in case no such appointment had been made the Presidency would, under the Constitution, have devolved upon the Secretary of Gobernación.
Madero and Pino Suárez resigned simultaneously and their resignations were accepted by Congress. Lascurain, Minister of Foreign Relations under Nadero, then immediately took the oath as Provisional President under the Constitution. He did not appoint a Secretary of Foreign Relations, but he did appoint General Huerta Secretary of Gobernación. Huerta having taken the oath as Secretary of Gobernación and Lascurain having resigned and his resignation having been accepted, the Presidency devolved upon Huerta under the Constitution