No. 339.
Mr. Romero to Mr. Bayard.


Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to communicate to you, for your information, a translation into English of those parts of the message which the President of the Mexican United States read before the Congress of the Union on the 1st instant, at the opening of the present session, with reference to the unfortunate encounter that happened at Teopar, in the Bavis Sierra, on the 11th of January of the present year, between volunteers of the State of Chihuahua and exploring Indians (scouts) of the Army of the United States.

Be pleased to accept, &c.,


Extracts from the speech which the President of the Mexican United States read before’ the Congress of the Union on the 1st of April, 1886, at the opening of its present session, in reference to the encounter at Teopar.

On the 23d of January last the governor of the State of Chihuahua, in a report by telegraph to the war department, says that on the 11th of said month the Mexican forces had had an encounter, at a place called Teopar, in the Bavis mountains, with about 200 Indians, commanded by foreign officers, and had killed five persons, among them their captain (Crawford). On our side a number of persons were also killed and wounded. Among the former were the major commanding the troops and a lieutenant. This incident was somewhat distorted in transmitting this news by the North American newspapers, and this gave rise to a supposition in the United States that the killing of Captain Crawford in said encounter had been intentionally caused by our troops, as they (the papers) assert that the Mexican troops fired against the officers of the United States Army knowingly.

Public opinion was somewhat excited in both countries, and the two Governments were compelled to order a careful investigation of the facts. For my part, and taking into consideration what has been ascertained up to the present time, I have the conviction that in said encounter our troops thought they were fighting the hostile Indians, because they were following the tracks of the savages and of the cattle which had been stolen, and they could not possibly imagine that said Indians had been joined [Page 725] by others of similar aspect, and among whom were very few soldiers or officers of the United’ States.

The killing of the courageous and deserving officers and citizens of both countries is a very lamentable affair, but our troops, which were composed of citizens of the State of Chihuahua, will always have the excuse that they could not take as friends the Indians who were in front, when they well knew that according to the agreement for the passing of troops by the frontier only the regular troops of both Republics can pass reciprocally the boundary line when they are following the trail of the hostile Indians.