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File No. 312.93/55.
T'he Acting Secretary of State to the Chinese Chargé d'Affaires.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 16, 1913. Sir: The Department has received a telegram dated the 10th instant from the American Consul at Mazatlan in which he in forms it that Chinese residents in Mazatlan have asked his advice and that he has advised them in case of danger to concentrate in a building which they have taken near the Consulate and where they have stored nearly half a million dollars' worth of merchandise. Accept [etc.]
J. B. MOORE.
CLAIMS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS AGAINST MEXICO FOR DAMAGES
ARISING FROM REVOLUTIONARY DISTURBANCES.1
File No. 412.00/22.
T'he American Chargé d'Affaires to the Secretary of State.
Mexico, December 30, 1912. Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith for the information of the Department copies of a note and translation thereof, dated November 9, 1912, from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Minister of Great Britain, pertaining to the attitude of the Mexican Government in the matter of claims growing out of the recent disturbances, which I received only Saturday last. I have [etc.]
The Merican Minister for Foreign Affairs to the British Alinister.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
Jerico, November 9, 1912. Mr. MINISTER: I was honored by the note of the Legation of November 5 in which, pursuant to instructions, your excellency asks what attitude will be taken by the Mexican Government for the settlement of claims submitted by foreigners on account of the present conditions in this country.
In reply I have the pleasure to say to your excellency that this Government considers that the disturbances which are occurring throughout the Republic, do not have the cliaracter of the Revolution of 1910, as your excellency so wisely understands; and it lopes that the Government of Great Britain is a the same opinion. For which reason the Government of Mexico has not made any decision in regard to the above claims, hoping that the disorders will cease. As soon as this happens I shall be pleased to inform your excellency as to whatever course may be adopted. I avail (etc.)
* Continued from For. Rel. 1912, pp. 929-986.
File No. 312.11/1031c.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 7, 1913—5 p. m. Referring to Mr. O'Shaughnessy's letter of December 28, 1912, and attached memorandum. The Department does not fully share some of the views which, it infers from the memorandum, you expressed to Mr. Lascurain. The Department deems it best at present to press individual cases as occasion requires pending that future time when a general settlement with Mexico may be necessary. Mr. Lascurain made a decidedly favorable impression. At the interviews with the President and at the Department it was sought to impress upon him that Mexico must protect American life and property; do justice to American citizens; restore order; respond to the great moral obligation to be especially considerate of American interests and promptly meet this Government's requests in specific cases; and, in general, exemplify that friendliness, earnestness and efficiency in protecting American interests necessary to justify before public opinion the continuance of the signally friendly and patient policy of the United States. Mr. Lascurain seemed sincerely anxious to make every effort along the lines suggested.
File No. 412.11/149.
The American Ambassador to the Secretary of State. No. 1845.]
Mexico, January 8, 1913. Sir: I have the honor to invite the attention of the Department to the apparent discrepancy and inconsistency in the character of its various instructions to this Embassy on the subject of the claims of American citizens. In the Department's telegram of April 14th, [1912), 3 p. m.? the President's views of the attitude of the United States towards claims was given and the following definition of our position was made:
The enormous destruction, constantly increasing, of valuable American properties in the course of the present unfortunate disturbances, the taking of American life contrary to the principles governing such matters among all civilized nations, the increasing dangers to which all American citizens in Mexico are subjected, and the seemingly possible indefinite continuance of this unfortunate situation compel the Government of the United States to give notice that it expects and must demand that American life and property within the Republic of Mexico be justly and adequately protected, and that this Government must hold Mexico and the Mexican people responsible for all wanton or illegal acts sacriticing or endangering American life or damaging American property or interests there situated.
This instruction, as the Department is aware, was given wide publicity at the time of its issuance, both in the American and Mexican press, with the natural result that numerous Americans were encouraged to present their claims against the Mexican Government believing that the above was the policy of the United States. Ever since April these claims have been presented with frequency and as no tangible results have been obtained the claimants are naturally desirous of knowing whether they may expect any action on the part of the United States.
1 This memorandum (without the letter, which merely covered it) is printed in For. Rel. 1912 at page 985.
* For. Rel. 1912, p. 787.
formed the Embassy, in the care of Carlos A. Miller, that:
You are instructed to advise Mr. Kearful that when the general question of the claims of American citizens against the Government of Mexico growing out of the recent revolutionary disturbances shall be taken up, the Department will give careful consideration to the claim of Mr. Miller.
In the meantime, you will invite Mr. Kearful's attention to the following generally accepted principles of international law: That a claimant against a foreign government is not usually regarded, subject to certain exceptions not at present necessary to consider, as entitled to diplomatic intervention by his own government until he has exhausted his legal remedies in the appropriate tribunals of the country against which he makes the claim; and that a sovereign government is not ordinarily responsible to alien residents for injuries they may receive within its territories from insurgents whose conduct it cannot control.
On December 19, again, in its instruction No. 1142,2 the Department, in the case of Daniel E. Sherron et al., in which the Mexican Government had stated that
No State is legally responsible for damages and prejudices which during an insurrection may be suffered by foreigners at the hands of rebels, replied that
You are instructed to write a note to the Mexican Foreign Office, acknowledging the receipt of its note of December 2, regarding the claim of Sherron et al., and informing it that the Government of the United States can not admit the existeuce of any such unqualified rule as that stated by the Mexican Government, and that full reservation must be made of the right of this Government further to press this matter in connection with the hundreds of other claims which, it is now apparent, this Government must ultimately present to the Government of Mexico for settlement.
For the protection equally of the Department and of this Embassy in replying to claimants or would-be claimants, it would seem imperative that the Government of the United States adopt a fixed policy in regard to claims and inform interested persons either that the United States will hold Mexico liable for just claims or that it will not. Sooner or later our Government will have to decide this matter and the longer it is postponed the more difficult it will be, and the more innocent and meritorious claims will suffer. I have [etc.]
HENRY LANE Wilson. l'ile No. 312.11/1033. The American Ambassador to the Secretary of State. [Telegram-- Paraphrase.]
Merico City, January 9, 1913—5 p. m. Department's January 7, 5 p. m. I believe that while it is my duty faithfully to reflect and execute instructions it is also my duty
1 Not printed ; File No. 412.11 M612.
* Nut printed; File No. 112.11/140.
to repeat that the matters set forth in our note of September 15, 1912 i—to which we have asked a categorical and explicit answershould be treated collectively instead of independently. We owe it, I believe, to our dignity to require clear, specific promises of satisfaction for all the items of complaint set forth in that note.
While fully sharing the Department's estimate of Mr. Lascurain, my experience with him, and that of the Chargé d'Affaires in my absence, is that while he is prolific in promises his performance is negligible, probably because of little or no influence with the administration; and that while sincere he makes an entirely inaccurate estimate of the situation.
File No. 512.11/1041a.
The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 9, 1913. Sir: As supplementary to the Department's telegraphic instruction of January 7, 5 p. m., I now inclose copies of memoranda of my conversation with Mr. Lascurain on January 3, and of his conversation with the Assistant Secretary of State on the following day. When Mr. Lascurain was received by the President on the 2d instant the President spoke to him along similar lines.
When Mr. Calero called at the Department preparatory to his departure from Washington, I took advantage of the opportunity to speak to him rather strongly along the general lines which were under discussion during your recent visit to Washington.
What with the fact that the situation in Mexico has appeared for the past few weeks to be somewhat quieter and the fact that there has been communicated to the Mexican Government, first through Mr. Calero and then through Mr. Lascurain, a very clear impression of the views of this Government and of the more earnest, energetic and friendly action which it expects of the Government of Mexico in behalf of American interests, it does not seem necessary at this time to make to the Government of Mexico any further written representations of a general character. From the present instruction and its inclosures and by consulting the telegram of January 7, to which I have alluded, it is thought that the Embassy will gain a clear idea of what it was sought to impress upon the Government of Mexico through Mr. Lascurain as well as of the present attitude of the Department toward the general situation.
You will note that Mr. Lascurain requested a recapitulation of what he had learned at the Department regarding certain specific cases, and that in reply to his request he was informed that although the specific cases mentioned were simply examples and did not by any means constitute a complete list, such a recapitulation might possibly be communicated to him personally and unofficially. In this connection the Department has prepared a paper, copy of which is inclosed, to be handed to Mr. Lascurain quite informally in compliance with his request. I am [etc.]
P. C. Kyox. · For. Rel. 1912, pp. 842-846.
Neinorandum of conversation between the Secretary of State and the Minister
for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, January 3, 1913.
PROTECTION OF AMERICANS AND AMERICAN INTERESTS IN GENERAL.
His Excellency Pedro Lascurain, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mexico, called upon me at the Department of State this morning at 10 o'clock, stating that he had been on a visit for the past three weeks to the United States with a view of making inquiry as to the American point of view in respect to American interests in Mexico by personal conversations with individuals and corporations having interests in his country.
He said that he had in his possession a large number of letters written by owners and representatives of American interests in Mexico, certifying to the fact that conditions with them were quite normal and that they were enabled to prosecute their business without molestation or interference. I called his attention to the fact that the feeling in the United States had no reference to the interests that were undisturbed, but to those that were disturbed ; that we were not claiming that all American interests in all of Mexico had been subject to molestation or interference, but that many American interests in many parts of Mexico had suffered from lack of protection in various ways, such as having their property seized and converted to the use of the parties seizing it, their cattle and horses stolen, and in many cases the individual rights and liberties of American citizens seriously interfered with; that the constant reiteration of stories of Mexican outrages on American citizens had produced a condition of mind in this country that had to be taken into account in our dealings with his Government, and that we had called the attention of his Government from time to time to the necessity of greater vigilance in protecting and redressing American rights; that great pressure had been brought upon the President an upon members of Congress for the repeal of the resolution authorizing the President, by proclamation, to forbid the exportation of arins and ammunition to Mexico that would likely fall into the hands of parties engaged in revolution in that country.
We talked over the situation generally and I endeavored to impress upon him the necessity of prompt and effective protection in cases where protection was needed as being the best means of meeting the pressure to which I had referred.
Mr. Lascurain said that he was authorized to assure me that the greatest. vigilance would be employed in correcting the matters of which I had spoken ; that he could assure me that in Chihuahua and Sonora they would at once restore complete order so that no further complaints would likely come from those States, and would to the very utmost of their ability employ adequate means to the same end in other parts of Mexico.
CLAIMS IN GENERAL
Ile said another branch of his inission, and the one which he came to Washington to discharge, was to come to some understanding about various matters of difference between the two countries and referred to the claims that had been made for injuries to American citizens at Douglas and El Paso.
DOLGLAS AND EL PASO CLAIMS. CHAMIZAL CASE.
AND ALAMO CASES.
COLORADO RIVER, TLAHUALILO,
I then called his attention to the fact that the Chamizal matter was one that it would be wise to have adjusted as early as possible; that the people of Texas were quite concerned in its early settlement and that since last June the Mexican Ambassador here had been promising a reply to the proposition made by this Government as a basis for its adjustment. I sent for Mr. Anderson, the Counselor, and had him explain to Mr. Lascurain somewhat in detail the points connected with the Chamizal case, and Mr. Lascurain assured us that it would receive his immediate attention as soon as he returned to Mexico. I then sent for the Solicitor, Mr. Clark, who took up and discussed in some detail with Mr. Lascurain the El Paso and Douglas incidents, the Colorado River matter, the Tlahualilo case, and the Alamo case.